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Rupsha Rail Bridge to boost sub-regional trade linking Mongla port

Published : 31 Aug 2022 10:32 PM | Updated : 01 Sep 2022 02:36 PM

The Rupsha Rail Bridge, which is part of the Khulna-Mongla Port Rail Line Project, has been completed under the concessional Line of Credit (LOC) of India increasing the connectivity of Mongla Port and paving the way for boosting sub-regional trade.

Mongla port, which is also being upgraded using Indian LOC, is the second largest port of Bangladesh and has widespread inland connections to the business hub of Khulna.

With the development of the Khulna-Mongla Port rail project, the development of this port will add to the maritime links for movement of goods not only between India and Bangladesh but also to and fro from Bhutan and Nepal. The project would greatly improve sub-regional connectivity, trade and commerce and accelerate growth of the entire region, according to a project briefing note. 

During a visit of the two projects on Monday, Amritosh Kumar Jha, project manager of the Khulna Mongla Rail Bridge Project WD-2, said the Rupsha Rail Bridge was completed on June 25. 

“We are waiting for its hand over to the government. After that, another company will install railway tracks on both sides of the bridge,” he said.

The 5.13 kilometer broad-gauge single-track railway bridge is constructed by Indian EPC Contractor M/s L&T and it has connected Khulna with the Mongla port via a rail line.

Amritosh Kumar Jha said the total project cost is $388.92 million while the cost of constructing the Rupsha Bridge is $169.26 million.

“Once completed, the rail line would help increase the connectivity of Mongla Port, the 2nd largest port of Bangladesh, and provide an alternate route for rail and maritime trade. It would also allow other countries in the region to use the port and boost sub-regional trade,” he said.

The bridge has been constructed over the Rupsha tidal river, and this was a challenging engineering feat as it required specialized base grouting technology for piling work.

“856 pile foundations were constructed on viaduct sections and 72 pile foundations were constructed for the steel bridge section with an average pile length of 72 m,” the project manager said.

“The bridge also has additional features such as navigation fender piles upstream and downstream of the pier, for ensuring navigation safety in the river. The navigational clearance for the main bridge is more than 18 m from Standard High-Water Level (SHWL),” he said.

The construction materials for the steel bridge superstructure were imported from India using road, sea and inland rivers.

“The Rupsha railway bridge and the Khulna-Mongla port rail line will greatly facilitate the to and fro transportation of goods and the enhanced connectivity and accessibility to Mongla Port will improve market access for local businesses including for agricultural produce of farmers in the region. It is also expected to positively impact tourism to prominent spots in the south-western part of Bangladesh,” according to a briefing note for the media.

The project for upgradation of the Mongla Port is being taken up under the third concessional LOC of India and includes construction of Jetty no. 1 & 2 of the Mongla Port at an estimated cost of USD 530 million. 

Egis India Consulting Engineering Ltd has emerged as a technically qualified bidder for the PMC contract of the project. The value of the PMC contract is $9.6 million. 

The Government of India has extended four LOCs to the Government of Bangladesh worth USD 7.862 billion. 42 projects have been taken up under these LOCs so far, of which 14 projects have been completed and the rest are at various stages of implementation.

Disbursements under these LOCs had reached a milestone figure of $1155 million as on the close of the Bangladeshi financial year on 30 June.

Disbursements in the last financial year of Bangladesh were $327.87 million and this is significantly higher than disbursements in any previous financial year, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under the confessional financing scheme (CFS), another $1.6 billion has been committed by the Indian government for the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant Project. With that, the total concessional financing by the Indian government under LOCs and CFS stand at $9.462 billion.

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