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Payra’s Ramnabad channel to be dredged

Published : 03 Nov 2020 09:36 PM | Updated : 04 Nov 2020 06:21 AM

The government has taken a project to dredge and maintain the inner and outer channel of Ramnabad immediately to facilitate 20,000-tonne coal-laden vessels to reach Payra Port, a thermal power plant in Patuakhali, directly.

The project will be implemented at a cost of Tk 437.30 crore on an emergency basis as the first unit of the plant now producing around 660-megawatt electricity, is also ready for commercial operation. 

Bangladesh-China Power Company (Pvt) Ltd (BCPCL), a joint venture, has set up the 1,320 MW coal-fired Payra power plant under Kalapara upazila of  Patuakhali district.  

The BCPCL is to import lakhs of tonnes of coal through Payra, expecting that such initiatives will boost the country’s economy through the port’s earnings.

The port is likely to start full-fledged operation by 2022.  

The main objective of the project is to maintain and dredge the Ramnabad channel near Payra port. 

Coal will be supplied regularly to the 1,320 MW Payra thermal power plants.

On August 13 in 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the operational activities of Payra port as the country’s third seaport.

Commander Mohammad Abul Hasan, chief Hydrographer of Payra Port Authority, said the Payra coal-fired thermal power plant was built mainly on imported coal. 

“Large coal-carrying ships will be excavated at Payra port, so that they can dock safely,” he mentioned.

Capital dredging as well as maintenance is essential to maintain depth, he informed. 

“The depth of the channel is 6.3 meters.  At high tide, the draft becomes 7 meters,” he said adding, “Dredging will be done so that coal vessels move safely in the channel.”

According to the Payra Port Authority sources, the depth of the channel will be maintained at 6.3 meters CD by dredging 9.75 million cubic meters in about 75 km of the Ramnabad outer and inner Channel. 

The width of the channel is 100 meters. The completion of the project will increase the amount of ship handling. 

As a result, shipping agents, C&F agents and working class people involved in port activities will directly benefit from the project. 

Socio-economic development and quality of life of the people in the southern region will be enhanced through the power generation from the Payra Coal-fired Thermal Power Station.

If the project is implemented, a minimum of 25,000 metric ton ships can be handled at Payra port. 

Larger ships can also be handled. Ships with a maximum draft of 7.5m will be ready for navigation at Payra port even at low tide. 

By 2041, the country will generate 60,000 megawatts of electricity. This requires a huge amount of coal. Now, big vessels cannot reach Payra Port as there is no water depth.

There are plans to dock 50,000 to 60,000 metric ton ships at the Payra Seaport. But now half a thousand tons of coal will be brought in 55 thousand ton ships. 

If there is a draft of 9 meters in the port, it is possible to bring coal by big ships. This will reduce import costs by at least $4 per tonne.