12:01 AM, May 24, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:01 AM, May 24, 2014

Hope for agreement on deep-sea port

Hope for agreement on deep-sea port

Hasan Jahid Tusher

During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Beijing next month, Bangladesh is likely to sign a number of deals, including one on a deep-sea port.
The primer minister is scheduled to fly to China on June 6 on a five-day official visit after she returns from her visit to Japan. She is going to Japan tonight.
A senior government official said the decision of signing an agreement with China would be finalised after the premier's return from Japan on May 29.
The UAE-based DP-World, the third largest port operator in the world, and the Netherlands government-owned company Rotterdam Port have also showed their interests in the $14-billion project at Sonadia Island near Cox's Bazar.
However, DP-World was not interested in financing construction without doing another feasibility study, which was done by Japan in 2009, said a senior official at the Prime Minister's Office.

“The Rotterdam Port is neither interested in financing nor constructing the port. It wants to provide consultancy and supervision services,” added the official preferring not to be named.
The official further said only China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), a subsidiary of state-owned China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), had shown interest in financing and constructing the port, which would boost the country's GDP growth by 2 percent as per a study.
Sources said the government would keep in mind geopolitical perspectives while signing a contract with any interested country as India, the US and a few other countries have shown their interest in the project.
The government on January 22 put the deep-sea port on a fast track and has been considering building it through a consortium of interested countries.
Speaking anonymously, another senior official said a decision on receiving Chinese assistance in several infrastructure projects including the deep-sea port depends on how Japan and a few other powerful friendly countries react.
The government has already sought loan and grant of more than $8.6 billion from the Chinese government to implement 18 projects including construction of a rail/road bridge across the Karnaphuli river at Kalurghat in Chittagong.
Insiders said the change in Indian government has apparently put the government in a hesitant situation regarding an agreement with China in building the deep-sea port.
“We expect a number of MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] and deals to be signed between the two countries during the visit of the Bangladesh prime minister,” said a senior official at the Chinese embassy in Dhaka.
Chinese Ambassador Li Jun has recently told a seminar that his country had been waiting for a long time to know Dhaka's decision about two vital projects -- building a deep-sea port and launching Bangladesh's first satellite “Bangabandhu Satellite” in space.
Li Jun had also mentioned that the two projects and construction of an exhibition centre in Bangladesh were among several important projects discussed during Hasina's visit to China in 2010.


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