Bangladesh - Put­ting Lo­gis­tics on the Fast Lane

Bangladesh is ready to rise and shine, as a slew of mega in­fra­struc­ture projects will breathe new life into the lo­gis­tics sec­tor, mak­ing it more vi­brant

Maritime Gateway - - Front Page -

The Bangladesh econ­omy is charg­ing ahead with record growth fig­ures for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year in 2017-18, driven by dou­bledigit growth rate in man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­struc­tion sec­tors. GDP growth in fis­cal 2017-18 is likely to be 7.65 per cent, up from 7.28 per cent a year ear­lier. This is the third con­sec­u­tive year that the eco­nomic growth was above 7 per cent. The in­dus­trial sec­tor, whose con­tri­bu­tion to the GDP is 33.71 per cent, grew 11.99 per cent against 10.22 per cent in fis­cal 201617. Man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor grew 13.18 per cent and agri­cul­ture sec­tor grew by 3.06 per cent in 2017-18. As per World Bank re­port Bangladesh is in a good po­si­tion for growth right now due to in­vest­ment, for­eign ex­change sav­ings and in­creas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity in the in­dus­trial sec­tor. This could be the very rea­son for it to grad­u­ate from be­ing a “least de­vel­op­ing coun­try” to be­come a “de­vel­op­ing coun­try.”

To en­sure this growth is un­stinted the gov­ern­ment is rightly fo­cus­ing on im­prov­ing lo­gis­tics in­fra­struc­ture to match the pace of man­u­fac­tur­ing and ex­ports. The size of the an­nual de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme in the coun­try rose to Tk 1,64,000 crore in 2017-18, up sev­en­fold from Tk 22,500 crore a decade ago. In­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments reached $6 bil­lion in 201617 from $2 bil­lion in 2011-12. Some of the lo­gis­tics in­fra­struc­ture projects in pipe­line are listed be­low:

A float­ing ter­mi­nal at Chittagong Port

A float­ing ter­mi­nal is be­ing planned at Chittagong Port, pri­mar­ily to re­lieve con­ges­tion. It will act as a tran­ship­ment point where con­tain­ers from feeder ves­sels will be offloaded to smaller ships that will con­nect to In­land Con­tainer Ter­mi­nals near Dhaka. Ves­sels from Dhaka and in­land ter­mi­nals across Bangladesh can bring cargo to the float­ing ter­mi­nal where con­tain­ers will be loaded onto ves­sels bound for Colombo and Sin­ga­pore. Cur­rently, about 70 per cent of the cargo at Chittagong Port is des­tined from and to Dhaka. Dhaka based ship­pers will be able to avoid the con­ges­tion at Chittagong Port and on the high­ways if they use this float­ing ter­mi­nal.

ICD near Dhi­ras­ram Rail­way Sta­tion

To ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing con­tainer­ised traf­fic at Chittagong Port, a new ICD is planned near Dhi­ras­ram Rail­way sta­tion at­tached to the Dhaka east­ern by-pass road. De­vel­oped on ap­prox­i­mately 55 hectares of land, the ICD will have a han­dling ca­pac­ity of 3,54,000 teus. It will have a rail­way spur of 6 km con­nect­ing the ICD with the na­tional rail­way net­work on around 26 hectares land.

In­dus­tries like ready­made gar­ments in par­tic­u­lar which are shift­ing to ar­eas north of Dhaka, the wo­ven mills sit­u­ated in Mir­pur, Te­j­gaon, Demra and fac­to­ries on Dhaka-syl­het High­way, Dhaka

EPZ, Savar, Tongi, Gazipur etc. are ac­ces­si­ble to the pro­posed ICD Site at Dhi­ras­ram. It is also ide­ally suited for con­tainer­iza­tion of Indo-bangla trade in the near fu­ture.

The ICD aims to in­crease the num­ber of con­tainer move­ments by rail in the key Dhaka-chittagong trans­port cor­ri­dor with re­gion­ally com­pet­i­tive trans­port costs and more re­li­able move­ment of im­port and ex­port cargo. It will pro­mote modal shift for im­port/ex­port cargo from break bulk move­ment by truck to con­tainer move­ment by rail.

Lal­dia bulk ter­mi­nal

A key con­straint faced by Chittagong Port is the lack of any spe­cial­ist ter­mi­nals to han­dle bulk cargo. Cur­rently the bulk cargo is be­ing han­dled at the ex­ist­ing con­tainer ter­mi­nals; how­ever, this is not a vi­able long term so­lu­tion. The lack of ded­i­cated equip­ment for bulk cargo, and the strong growth of con­tainer and bulk cargo vol­umes are hav­ing an ad­verse im­pact on ships wait­ing time and the over­all per­for­mance of the port. To meet this in­crease in bulk cargo vol­umes and im­prove per­for­mance of port op­er­a­tions, gov­ern­ment has pri­or­i­tized the es­tab­lish­ment of a ded­i­cated bulk cargo han­dling fa­cil­ity.

The gov­ern­ment has pri­mar­ily se­lected Lal­dia Char as a strate­gi­cally ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tion for de­vel­op­ing a bulk cargo han­dling ter­mi­nal. The ter­mi­nal will have four jet­ties, two for con­tainer ves­sels and two for bulk cargo car­ri­ers, and is es­ti­mated to cost about $301.60 mil­lion.

Rail­way ICD at Gazipur

The gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to con­struct a new ICD for

Bangladesh Rail­way at Gazipur to ex­pand con­tainer ser­vice across the coun­try. Freight trains can come to the pro­posed Gazipur ICD from Chittagong and then load and un­load their con­tain­ers for send­ing to the north­ern dis­tricts.

Re­de­vel­op­ing In­land Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal (ICT) at Khan­pur

Sit­u­ated on the Shi­ta­lakhya river in Narayan­ganj Dis­trict the ICT Khan­pur is spread on an area of 14 acres. It is well con­nected through in­land wa­ter trans­port and can help to re­lieve the con­ges­tion on Dhaka­chit­tagong road. It can ef­fi­ciently han­dle con­tain­ers to be trans­ported by in­land wa­ter­ways from/to the mar­itime ports of Chittagong and Mongla. The ICT has an an­nual ca­pac­ity of 80,000 teus.

In­land con­tainer river port in Ashuganj

With a sec­ond line of credit from In­dia, the Bangladesh gov­ern­ment is set­ting up an in­land con­tainer river port in Ashuganj that will pro­mote re­gional and sub-re­gional trade. Es­ti­mated cost of the project is Tk1,293 crore. The port can han­dle 400,000 teus of con­tain­ers ev­ery year and can be used to con­nect the seven sis­ter states of In­dia.

Tun­nel un­der river Kar­na­phuli

About 24 per cent of the work on Kar­na­phuli tun­nel has been com­pleted. The 3.5 kilo­me­tres long four-lane tun­nel, coun­try’s first-ever tun­nel, will make Chittagong into ‘One City Two Towns’, mod­elled on east and west Shang­hai of China.

The to­tal length of the pro­posed tun­nel will be around 9.092 kilo­me­tres in­clud­ing 3.40 kilo­me­tres tun­nel un­der the Kar­na­phuli River with an ap­proach road of 4.89 kilo­me­tres along­side 740 me­tres of bridges link­ing the main port city, and western side of the Kar­na­phuli along with the heavy in­dus­try-prone east­ern side of the river. The tun­nel will cut the road dis­tance be­tween Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar, apart from fa­cil­i­tat­ing the heavy traf­fic on Dhaka-chittagong High­way en­ter­ing the port city to go to other parts of Chittagong di­vi­sion.

With these and many more lo­gis­tics projects in the pipe­line, the ship­ping com­mu­nity can be as­sured to ex­pe­ri­ence a more vi­brant lo­gis­tics sce­nario in the days to come.

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