Bangladesh is set to award the work order to China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) — one of China's largest state-owned enterprises with foreign operations — for the construction of the proposed deep seaport at Sonadia Island near Cox's Bazar.
The CHEC is a subsidiary of state-owned China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will leave Dhaka for China next Friday on a six-day official visit during which both the countries are expected to complete negotiations on the construction of the deep seaport which is projected to boost the country's GDP growth by 2%.
During the visit, the prime minister would hold official talks with her Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 9.
A formal announcement regarding the Chinese company's participation in construction of the deep seaport is likely to come after a high-level meeting between Hasina and Li Keqiang, according to a high level official at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
The officials of the PMO and Economic Relations Division (ERD) told Prothom Alo on Saturday that the framework deal proposed by China on the construction of the deep seaport was likely to be signed during the prime minister's visit to Beijing.
Besides, a number of deals and memorandums of understanding (MoU) are supposed to be signed on financial assistance, power generation and other sectors.
Senior officials of the ERD and the Ministry of Shipping told Prothom Alo that apart from the Chinese construction firm, two other foreign firms — the DP World of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Rotterdam Port of the Netherlands — also showed their interests in financing and constructing Bangladesh's first deep seaport.
Though the Rotterdam Port showed their interest, the Rotterdam Port itself was built by the DP World — one of the largest marine terminal operators in the world.
After a Japanese consultancy firm, Pacific Consultant International (PCI), conducted a feasibility survey earlier for the construction of the deep-water seaport, the UAE and the Netherlands were not so interested in construction of the seaport. Besides, the tender proposals submitted by the two foreign firms seemed to the government to be less attractive.
A high level committee headed by the prime minister's principal secretary scrutinised the three tender proposals and favoured the Chinese proposal.
Officials concerned with the high-level committee said that China, with its own financing, conducted a feasibility study for construction of the proposed seaport at Sonadia last year.