• Thursday, Jul 07, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Fresh study on Karnaphuli River after six decades

  • Published at 01:15 pm November 18th, 2020
Birds eye view of a portion of the Karnaphuli River in Chittagong Wikimedia Commons

The study styled ‘Detailed Hydrologic and Hydraulic Study in Karnaphuli River’ has been undertaken to ensure maximum efficiency of the sea port

HR Wallingford, a British consultancy firm, that conducted the last study on the Karnaphuli River back in 1961, is back to embark on a fresh study on the lifeline of Chittagong after almost six decades.

Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) and HR Wallingford signed a contract for the project at Bandar Bhaban on Tuesday.

Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson and HR Wallingford’s local agent Dr Manzur Haque, among others were present at the signing ceremony.

According to the port officials, the study styled “Detailed Hydrologic and Hydraulic Study in Karnaphuli River” has been undertaken to ensure maximum efficiency of the seaport.

Currently, Chittagong port can accommodate vessels with 9.5-metre draft. The study will explore the possibility if the port could accommodate larger ships.

Speaking on ceremony, CPA Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad said: “The port had undertaken infrastructural plans based on the study conducted in 1961. The port will undertake its future plans in line with the recommendations obtained from the latest study.”

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson thanked the port authority for selecting British consultancy firm for the study.

Martin Young, chief technical director, HR Wallingford, said: “We first studied Karnaphuli River over 60 years ago, so are delighted to return to Chittagong to help the port go from strength to strength.”

M Arifur Rahman, chief hydrographer, Chittagong Port Authority told the Dhaka Tribune that the consultancy firm is supposed to initiate the study within seven days of signing the contract and the study will be completed within nine months.

The study includes furnishing a desktop study, a numerical model study including hydraulic and hydrological study, sedimentation, and erosion aspect, navigation and operability of the Karnaphuli navigational channel for port developments, maintenance dredging strategy (depending on kind of soil, frequency of dredging, extra depth including spreading / dumping of sediments),  environmental aspects (such as sustainability, nature protection, reuse of dredged materials and dealing with contaminated sediments, providing a strategy on how to reuse dredged materials, and if that’s not possible how to deal with them and determining the potential areas to be dredged for ensuring safe navigation and the entrance of larger ships in the river Karnaphuli.

HR Wallingford will provide a detailed Hydrological and Hydraulic Study of the Karnaphuli River, and provide insight into the potential solution to improve access to the country’s premier maritime port, particularly around the ‘Gupta Bend’.

The river bend is a well-known constriction in the river, which limits the size of the vessel entering into the port.

The British consultancy firm will initially review ways that larger ships might navigate the bend, before going on to use its findings to propose long-term solutions that maximise the capacity and work with the river’s natural properties.

Applying its extensive knowledge of ports and harbours, the HR Wallingford team will use surveys, navigation studies, dredging assessments, planning tools and state-of-the-art ship simulators to help provide and test solutions.

Karnaphuli River originated in the Lushai hills in Mizoram State of India. In Bangladesh part, the river travelled 187 kilometres before draining into the Bay of Bengal.

Around 98% of the country’s export and import is done through Chittagong port which is located by the estuary of the river. Chittagong port is the 58th busiest container port among 100 top ports across the globe.

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