Navy to dredge channel to Payra seaport

Deepak Acharjee

The Navy is going to get the work for dredging the navigation channel (Kajal-Tetulia River Route) of the country’s third seaport at Payra for a tender worth Tk. 234.13 crore. The shipping ministry has prepared a project proposal, which would be placed at a Cabinet meeting on purchase soon, sources in the ministry and the Payra Port Authority said. The shipping ministry will give the work order to the Navy after getting approval from the purchase committee, they added.
Acting secretary of the shipping ministry, Ashuk Madhob Roy, said the proposal mentions that the Navy had sent a written request to the ministry to give the dredging work under the process of direct procurement method (DPM). In turn, the ministry had issued a request for proposal (RFP) to the Navy.
“The personnel division of the Bangladesh Naval Headquarters had submitted their proposal of Tk 234.13 crore for the work, and the tender evaluation committee, formed by the ministry, has recommended it,” Roy added.
In a March 16 letter to the Payra seaport chairman, the director of personnel division of the Navy Headquarters, Capt. Kamrul Haque Chowdhury, said the Navy was engaged in 10 different dredging works across the country under the DPM process.
“Under the management of the Bangladesh Navy, different activities to develop the country’s social economy and infrastructure development have been going on. The Navy has been successfully carrying out dredging of different rivers as well as excavation and earth filling works through the DPM process. The Navy wants to complete such an important and public interest work by using its skilled manpower and equipment within the scheduled time. We want to give assurance about the quality of such work,” the letter said.
On May 25, the Payra Port Authority had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Belgium-based dredging organisation Jan De Nul to facilitate the capital and maintenance dredging of the seaport. Under the MoU, Jan De Nul will develop a 35 nautical-mile-long channel dredging from the Rabnabad channel to the seaport’s outer anchorage.
The Belgian organisation will also carry out maintenance dredging in the channel to implement the designed channel navigable for 16m draught vessels by 2018.
Meanwhile, a total of 262 posts in 64 categories have been created to run the Payra Port Authority.
Of the posts, one is for the chairman, three for members, four for directors, one for secretary, six for deputy directors and two posts for pilots are included in the organogram of the Payra Port Authority. Sources said the Payra Port Authority wants to start transportation of cargo vessels under the short-term plan within this year.
As per the port’s mid-term plan, the authorities want to dredge 10-12 m channel and build port infrastructures including one multipurpose and one bulk terminal by 2018. The country’s third largest seaport at Payra is located at the Rabnabad channel in Kalapara upazila in Patuakhali district. It will be soon transformed into a main seaport in line with the concept of deep seaport. The revamped seaport’s outer anchorage is going to be operational from this December.
Infrastructure work has started at the site to ease pressure on the two leading seaports at Chittagong and Mongla, and also to facilitate transit to ensure economic and social development in the southern and central regions.
On November 20, 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had inaugurated the Payra seaport, which is only 31 km from the sea boundary, 316 km from Chittagong, 130 km from Mongla seaport and 340 km from Dhaka.
A techno-economic feasibility study, including environmental impact assessment for development of the Payra port, has been completed by the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM). At present, a UK firm is conducting a feasibility study on developing the seaport into a deep seaport.