Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Sunday said China will continue supporting Bangladesh’s infrastructure development, promoting cooperation to a higher level, and helping Bangladesh materialise its development dream.
China has rich experience in infrastructure development and its construction efficiency and quality are among the best in the world, he said.
“I believe that under BRI, the prospects for cooperation between the two countries in the field of transportation infrastructure are very promising,” said the ambassador while delivering a pre-recorded speech at the second part of a function marking the formal inauguration of construction work of Cox’s Bazar Airport’s runway extension into Sea.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated it from her official residence, Gonobhaban, in Dhaka.
The Chinese ambassador said the project is the key step that will promote Cox’s Bazar to become an international metropolis.
On completion of the project, he said, all the giant aircraft will be able to take off and land on the coastal runway, and this will boost the development of the Cox’s Bazar and neighbouring regions.
Today is indeed a joyous day as the successful launching of this project marks a new level of cooperation in the transport infrastructure development sector between China and Bangladesh
The ambassador appreciated the project contractor - China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and Changjiang Yichang Waterway Engineering Bureau (CYWEB), and said in the past 40 years, both companies have been engaged in a large number of construction projects around the world.
“With its sound technical capacity and extensive experiences, I believe CCECC and CYWEB will fulfil its mission and deliver a satisfactory result to the Bangladeshi government and people by completing the project on time and with high quality,” said ambassador Jiming.
At the same time, he said, CCECC and CYWEB will surely contribute to the local people’s livelihood by granting employment opportunities to the local workforces.
As one of the ENR-listed top 100 global contractors with a global business network in 105 countries and regions, CCECC dabbled into Bangladesh in the early 2000s.
CCECC is recently engaged in ADB-funded construction of new Dual Gauge Single Railway Line from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar via Ramu LOT-2 and is pursuing Joydebpur to Ishwardi Double Line Railway Project on G-G basis under the Bangladesh Railway.
CCECC officials said they are optimistic about opportunities ahead offered by the post-pandemic economic rebound in Bangladesh.
CCECC is to set up its South Asia Regional Office in Bangladesh and continue to contribute its international engineering and financing services to Bangladesh for contributing to the materialisation of the Golden Bangla Dream, said the officials.
The ambassador described Cox’s Bazar as an attractive coastal city which he visited a couple of times. “It has long natural coastal lines and very scenic; it has the potential to become a world famous vacation resort to attract tourists from all over the world.”
“Today is indeed a joyous day as the successful launching of this project marks a new level of cooperation in the transport infrastructure development sector between China and Bangladesh,” he said, adding that it marks a milestone for Cox’s Bazar Airport on its way to becoming an international airport.
Ambassador Jiming said Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia to join the Belt and Road Initiative, known as “BRI”, next to the decisive leadership and extraordinary vision of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, two countries have carried out comprehensive and successful cooperation under the BRI, particularly the field of infrastructure development.
As one of the key areas of China-Bangladesh cooperation, the ambassador said, infrastructure connectivity lays a solid foundation for the in-depth development of Bangladesh-China bilateral relations.
“This project will for sure advance China-Bangladesh cooperation with regards to infrastructure development,” he said.
Apparently inspired by Hong Kong International Airport, the government of Bangladesh has taken the runway expansion project at the Cox’s Bazar Airport by reclaiming land from the sea.
Once completed, all types of large aircraft will be able to take off and land on the maritime runway, officials said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) signed a deal with the CYWEB and CCECC on 9 February 2021 to implement the gigantic project.
The deadline to complete the construction of the project is 10 May 2024 but there will be efforts to do it faster than the stipulated time.