The government has started dredging the inner bar of Mongla Port – at a cost of Tk793.72 crore – to increase navigability and facilitate the anchoring of larger container vessels at the port's jetties.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inaugurated the dredging project at Jaymonirgol, in Mongla, on Saturday.
Mongla Port Authority chairman Rear Admiral Mohammad Musa presided over the inaugural function. Khulna city mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleq, Deputy Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Habibun Nahar MP and environment ministry secretary Mohammad Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury were the special guests.
Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said, "The turnaround time of the ships arriving at the port will be reduced; the cost of transporting the goods will be saved once the dredging is completed in the inner bar."
"The number of ships at Mongla Port will increase significantly, which will play a vital role in the country's economy, including the development of the country's southwestern part," he added.
The port will play a major role in trade and commerce, which will help implement the incumbent government's plan to build a developed country by 2041, the state minister said.
He said under the Indian loan, a project worth around Tk6,000 crore has been undertaken for the expansion of Mongla Port.
Earlier, dredging was done at the outer bar of Mongla port at a cost of around Tk700 crore. Ships with a draft of 9.5 metres have already started arriving. As a result, the number of ships sailing at the port and its revenue are both increasing.
The dredging of the 19-kilometre inner bar from Joymanirgol of Pashur Channel to Jetty of the port will solve the navigability crisis of the port. During this time 216.09 lakh cubic metres of sand will be dredged.
As a result, ships with 9.50 metre draft to 10 metre draft should be able to anchor at the Mongla Port jetty directly. At present, only ships with a seven metre draft can approach the port's jetties.
Once the project is completed, which is expected by 2022, container ships of 9.5 metre draft will be able to anchor at the jetties of the port and this port will become an alternative to Chattogram Port.
Jianshu Haihong Construction Engineering Company Limited (JHCEC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CHINA CIVEC) will do the dredging work jointly.
Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner ANM Faizul Haque, Mongla Port Authority member (Harbor and Marine) Captain M Abdul Wadud Tarafdar, member (Engineering and Development) Md Imtiaz Hossain, director (Administration) Md Gias Uddin, the Inner Bar Dredging Project's Project Director Sheikh Shawkat Ali, divisional chiefs, officials and employees of various departments of the Mongla Port Authority, eminent personalities, and media persons were also present at the project's inauguration.