Dhaka Airport Operations: Japanese firm keen to take charge
Two new project proposals, including one on the operation and maintenance of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), will be placed at a high-level meeting between representatives of Bangladesh and Japan today and there will be discussion whether those can be implemented under public private partnership (PPP).
The Bangladesh side will place a project proposal on upgrading Nabinagar-Paturia road to an expressway while the Japanese authorities will put forward a proposal on operation and maintenance of the country's prime airport, sources said.
Mitsubishi Corporation, which is involved in construction of the third terminal of HSIA, has already sent their proposal to the Bangladesh authorities.
On the other hand, Roads and Highways Department (RHD) is already in talks with Japanese JFE Engineering Corporation over implementing the expressway project, the sources added.
The Fourth Bangladesh Japan Joint PPP Platform meeting will be held virtually today.
Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) will lead the Bangladesh side while the Japanese government will be represented by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).
Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, and Momura Masafumi, vice minister of MLIT, among others, are expected to deliver speeches in the day-long meeting.
Besides, officials from both the countries and agencies and companies concerned will also take part in the meeting which was scheduled for March last year, but deferred due to the pandemic.
Bangladesh and Japan have already agreed to work on five important projects under PPP with government-to-government initiative.
Under the arrangement, Japanese companies will invest under the government-to-government system without participating in any bidding.
At the first meeting of the Japan-Bangladesh Joint PPP Platform on December 6, 2017, Bangladesh's PPPA sought multi-billion-dollar support from Japan for implementing 18 infrastructure projects.
Five projects have been selected so far.
TWO NEW PROJECTS
Speaking to The Daily Star, PPPA Director (investment promotion) Najmus Sayadat yesterday said, "Two new project proposals would be placed at tomorrow's [Wednesday] platform meeting."
He said the proposal on Nabinagar-Paturia Expressway project was supposed to be placed before the platform meeting last year. Later, Japan picked JFE Engineering Corporation for the project and the company talked with the RHD on different issues regarding the project.
"They [Japanese authority] have given initial concurrence regarding the project," he added.
Asked about the airport project, Sayadat said the Japan government and Mitsubishi Corporation showed interest.
Air Vice Marshal Mafidur Rahman, chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), which operates the country's airports, said Mitsubishi Corporation submitted their proposal on December 19 last year.
"As it is a sensitive issue involving the security of the country's prime airport, we have decided to assess pros and cons of the proposal by a third party and check whether it will be financially viable for us," he told this newspaper yesterday.
Mafidur said they were also considering how deeply the country's interest would be protected through operating its main airport by a foreign company.
Currently, Aviation Dhaka Consortium (ADC), comprising Mitsubishi Corporation, Fujiata Corporation and Samsung C&T, is implementing the third terminal project of HSIA at a cost of Tk 20,598 crore.
In 2019, CAAB earned around Tk 1,500 crore from HSIA. Biman Bangladesh Airlines operates the ground handling activities at the airport.
However, there are widespread allegations that services at the airport are not up to the mark.
An RHD official said the length of Nabinagar-Paturia expressway -- with four normal lanes, two emergency lanes and two service lanes -- would be around 58km. The exact length would be known after the selection of the location for the second Padma bridge.
PROGRESS OF FIVE PROJECTS
The five selected projects are: Construction of Multimodal Transport Hub (MmTH) at Kamalapur Railway Station; Construction of MmTH at Biman Bandar Railway Station; Detailed design, construction, operation, and maintenance of MRT Line-2; Construction of Outer Ring Road (southern part); and Improvement of Chattogram-Cox's Bazar highway.
Under the improvement of Chattogram-Cox's Bazar highway project, the 136km long highway would be upgraded to a four-lane highway with service lanes on both sides. The estimated cost of the project is $1.693 billion.
The authorities have already appointed Buet as consultant for reviewing a feasibility study on the project. The deadline for completing the work is June 30.
The 24km MRT-2 line will connect the capital's Gabtoli with Chattogram Road via Basila, Jhigatala, Science Lab, Azimpur, Central Shaheed Minar, Golap Shah Mazar, Motijheel, Mugda, and Demra. The project's estimated cost is $3.465 billion.
The government has planned to construct 48km expressway along the southern part of the capital's outer ring road to link Dhaka-Aricha, Dhaka-Mawa and Dhaka-Chattogram highways.
The project's estimated cost is $1.20 billion. The RHD has already appointed consultants for carrying out a feasibility study and prepare a detailed design.
Marubeni Corporation was selected for these three projects.
Under Kamalapur MmTH project, the railway station would be turned into a multimodal transport hub, which would have connectivity with different modes of transport, including conventional train, high speed train, metro rail, bus.
Kajima Corporation has already outlined a concept in this regard.
Similarly, Biman Bandar Station would be turned into a multimodal transport hub. The project's estimated cost is $200 million. The Japanese government initially selected Sojitz Corporation, but later picked Mitsubishi Corporation for the work.