Originally published in BD News 24 on 26 June 2023
A Bangladeshi ship has arrived at Mongla port from Indonesia with more than 32,000 tonnes of coal for Rampal power plant where a fuel shortage forced a suspension of production on several occasions in recent times.
The work to unload the coal brought by the ship, MV Bashundhara Impress, started on Sunday evening, said Khandaker Riazul Haque, an assistant manager of Togey Shipping and Logistics Ltd, the local agent of the vessel.
The plan also received over 26,600 tonnes of coal on Jun 10 from China, and a total of 60,500 tonnes from Indonesia in May.
Bangladesh has been grappling with an acute power supply crisis, worsened by the suspension of operations at the 1,320 MW Payra power plant, the country’s largest, due to a shortage of coal.
One of the two 660 MW units at Payra thermal power plant restarted production on Sunday, 20 days after a shortage of coal forced the entire operation to shut down.
A ship with 41,000 tonnes of coal docked at the plant’s port last Friday. The shipment is enough to run one unit of the plant for seven days.
Officials said 17 other ships, each carrying similar amounts of coal, will dock at the plant’s port soon, which will be enough to continue operation and reopen the second unit.
Bangladesh has been unable to pay for coal for quite some time due to a dollar crunch amid global economic headwinds.
The ongoing electricity crisis, punctuated by frequent power outages amid sweltering heat, was intensified in Bangladesh after the Payra plant suspended operations. The situation improved after some shipments arrived and the demand for cooling fell with the arrival of monsoon.
According to a Bangladesh Power Development Board forecast, the peak hour demand for electricity is 14,800 MW and for off-peak hours, it is 13,100 MW.
Power plants in Bangladesh produced 13,906 MW of electricity and 11,858 MW of electricity during peak and off-peak hours, respectively, on Saturday.