Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday opened Paira seaport, the country's third seaport, at the Rabnabad Channel in Kalapara upazila of Patuakhali district.
Hasina also laid the foundation stone of a modern and self-reliant naval base—BNS Sher-e-Bangla—of Bangladesh Navy with aviation facilities, at a function on the port premises.
The distance of Rabnabad channel is 31km from the sea boundary, 316km from Chittagong, 130km from Mongla port and 340km from the capital.
The port is also expected to reduce the pressure on the country's two other sea ports—Chittagong and Mongla—and facilitate transit, ensuring economic and social development of the country's southern and central region, Hasina said.
A techno-economic feasibility study, including environmental impact assessment, for development of Paira port has been completed through the Institute of Water Modeling following the approval of the shipping ministry.
According to the study, over Tk 15,000 crore would be spent on the construction of the complete infrastructure in 10 years.
Hasina hoped the first-ever newly-built port in the country after independence would open up a new dimension in the import-export and goods transportation activities.
She hoped various establishments, including industrial organisations, LNG terminal, coal yard and shipbuilding industry, would be developed in the region over the Paira seaport.
Hasina said her government has already enacted the Paira Port Authority Act and formed an authority to start the full-fledged operation of the port.
The premier expressed her hope that it would be possible to upgrade the activities of the new port to a desired standard soon with the coordinated efforts of all concerned.
After assuming office this time, Hasina said her government has undertaken an integrated plan to commission ships, aircraft and submarines to modernise the Navy for which establishment of a state-of-the-art Naval base has become indispensable.
“That plan has turned into a reality through establishment of Sher-e-Bangla Naval base in the country's southern region.”
The premier noted that the development plan for the Navy has been formulated in the light of the Forces Goal 2030 under which there will be expansion of naval commands in phases, upgradation of ranks, increase in manpower and establishment of a naval base, replacing old ships and commissioning new ships.
She also said that her government is firm to build a strong maritime sector with coordination of different port authorities, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Coast Guard and public-private marine trade.
Once full construction of the Paira port is completed, it will help fisheries processing and facilitate exportation, facilitate agri produces, create more scope for setting up mills and factories and thus creating employment opportunities for the local people.
The port will also improve the standard of living through extension of utility services, ensure environment-friendly afforestation, land development, embankment, river training as well as easing international businesses.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral M Farid Habib, Chairman of Paira Port Authority Rear Admiral Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Shipping Secretary Syed Manzurul Islam also spoke at the function.