Lockdown in China harms 3 megaprojects

At least three infrastructure megaprojects, two of which are being fast-tracked, are facing supply chain pressure due to the ongoing Covid-induced lockdown in Shanghai China.

The Padma Bridge Rail Link Project (PBRLP) contractor was forced to halt production at its sleeper plant due to lack of materials over a month ago.

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Some specific works of a station to be built at Cox’s Bazar as part of the Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Rail Link project have also been halted due to lack of materials.

Both are fast-track government projects.

Project officials said that if the situation continues, it will negatively impact timelines.

Another project that is running into problems is the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram.

Chinese contractors are involved in all three projects and most of the materials are collected in China, they said.

Almost every development project in the country faced a huge setback when the government of Bangladesh imposed a lockdown in early 2020 and 2021 to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Although the situation has improved and work on the project has gained momentum, these projects again faced a hurdle when Chinese authorities imposed a lockdown on Shanghai last month.

Shanghai is China’s most important economic hub and has the busiest port in the world.

CNN in a May 6 report said some Chinese cities, including Shanghai, have begun easing Covid restrictions in recent days, but experts say the damage has already been done and global shipping will suffer well into the future. the summer.

That could put even more pressure on global supply chains already reeling from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and keep inflation high, the US outlet said.

The Padma Bridge Rail Link project, the largest project of Bangladesh Railway, is being implemented to construct a 169 kilometer railway line between the capital and Jashore via the Padma Bridge.

The initial cost of the project was Tk 34,989 crore when it was approved in 2016 and the deadline was June 2022.

But the project had to be revised even before the start of the physical works, mainly due to the delay in signing the loan contract with the Chinese Exim Bank.

The revised cost of the project is Tk 39,246 crore and the deadline is extended to June 2024. The overall progress of the project was 57.5% till April this year.

Project manager Afzal Hossain said the steel girder prepared for the bridges had been stuck at the Shanghai port for more than a month.

They have to stop operation of sleeper factory at Faridpur’s Bhanga before Eid due to lack of materials, he said.

“Still, we hope to catch up with the backlog caused by the supply disruption, but if the situation continues, it would create a serious problem,” Afzal told the Daily Star yesterday.

Citing officials from the contracting company, he said the lockdown in Shanghai could be extended for another two weeks.

The Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Rail Link project was undertaken in 2010 to construct a railway from Chattogram’s Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar at a cost of Tk 1,852 crore.

But the revised cost of the project is Tk 18,034 crore and the deadline is June 2022. However, the project authorities requested more time and hoped to complete the works by June 2023.

Project director Mofizur Rahman said the Shanghai lockdown had had a “huge impact” on their project over the past month.

About 75% of the materials have already reached the project site, but 25% still need to be collected and the lockdown is hampering the process, he said.

Not only the port of Shanghai, industries have also been locked down, which is worrying, he added.

The 9.1 km Bangabandhu tunnel, the first of its kind in South Asia, is being constructed at a cost of Tk 10,374.42 crore, with a deadline of December 2022.

Project Director Harun-or-Rashid said, “The lockdown in Shanghai appeared as a new hurdle for us. We try to overcome it.

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