Com­mit­ted to Scal­ing Up In­vest­ments in Mar­itime Sec­tor

H.E. Sheikh Hasina, MP Hon'ble Prime Min­is­ter, Gov­ern­ment of The Peo­ple's Repub­lic of Bangladesh

Maritime Gateway - - Contents -

Wel­come to the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony of the se­cond South Asia Mar­itime and Lo­gis­tics Fo­rum 2018. I hope that the Fo­rum will play an im­por­tant role in so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the peo­ple through aug­ment­ing the re­gion's trade and com­merce. Prior to the emer­gence of rail and road, wa­ter ves­sels were the main means of trans­port in Bangladesh. Nearly

700 rivers are flow­ing through Bangladesh, a land of 1,47,570 sq.km. The rivers and wa­ter bod­ies of Bangladesh are in­her­ently con­nected to each other and play an im­por­tant role in so­cio-eco­nomic up­lift­ment of the na­tion. The in­ter­nal lo­gis­tics in South­ern Bangladesh is mainly de­pen­dent on wa­ter­ways and liveli­hood of a huge num­ber of peo­ple is con­nected with this sec­tor.

Restor­ing the pri­macy of in­land wa­ter trans­port as a log­i­cal and com­pet­i­tive mode of trans­porta­tion is one of the key pri­or­i­ties of the gov­ern­ment of Bangladesh. The gov­ern­ment is tak­ing mea­sures to re­open the closed river routes, im­prov­ing their nav­i­ga­bil­ity to en­sure safe and se­cure river routes. Sav­ings in trans­porta­tion cost of cargo re­sult­ing from the use of wa­ter trans­port rather than road are es­ti­mated at TK7.5 bil­lion whereas the cost of dredg­ing is es­ti­mated at TK0.6 bil­lion per anum. In our Na­tional In­te­grated Mul­ti­modal Trans­port Pol­icy, we have put for­ward a strat­egy that will seek to strengthen the po­si­tion of in­land wa­ter­ways in the trans­port sys­tem.

South Asian geo­graphic re­gion is a ma­jor fo­cus in re­cent times be­cause of eco­nomic growth, trade and mar­ket ex­pan­sion which in turn cre­ates huge op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand lo­gis­tics and mar­itime re­lated ser­vices. With in­creas­ing eco­nomic growth of the coun­try, in­ter­na­tional trade is in­creas­ing day-by­day through wa­ter­ways. The to­tal ex­port-im­port through wa­ter­ways was 43.17mmt in FY2010-11, which in­creased to 73.21mmt in FY2016-17. With the sup­port of mul­ti­lat­eral and bi­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment part­ners, we will scale up our in­vest­ments to pro­vide sus­tained nav­i­ga­bil­ity of our wa­ter­ways, mod­ern­ize ex­ist­ing river ports, build new ports and in­land con­tainer de­pots to im­prove cargo and pas­sen­ger han­dling.

Bangladesh is de­vel­op­ing rapidly and hopes to be­come a mid­dlein­come coun­try by 2021. The gov­ern­ment of Bangladesh, in co­op­er­a­tion with the gov­ern­ment of the Nether­lands, has pre­pared and en­dorsed the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 which aims to ac­cel­er­ate the GDP growth through proper uti­liza­tion of wa­ter re­sources.

Av­er­age GDP growth over the past decade was over 6.5 per cent and it was 7.86 per cent last year. The poverty rate dropped to

21.8 per cent in 2018 from 4l.5 per cent in 2005-06 and per cap­i­tal in­come rose to $1,751 from $543 in the same pe­riod. In 2015, the World Bank rec­og­nized Bangladesh as lower mid­dle in­come coun­try and this year Bangladesh grad­u­ated to de­vel­op­ing coun­try from LDCS. We have been work­ing to turn Bangladesh into a mid­dle in­come coun­try by 202l and de­vel­oped and pros­per­ous one by 2041.

There is a huge po­ten­tial in mar­itime sec­tor in South Asia and uti­liz­ing the sec­tor it is pos­si­ble to make a big lead into the so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the peo­ple of this re­gion. I sin­cerely be­lieve that the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Se­cond South Asia Mar­itime & Lo­gis­tics Fo­rum 2018 will help re­al­ize the de­sired goals. I wish this event a great suc­cess and de­clare it open.

With the sup­port of mul­ti­lat­eral and bi­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment part­ners, we will scale up our in­vest­ments to pro­vide sus­tained nav­i­ga­bil­ity of our wa­ter­ways, mod­ern­ize ex­ist­ing river ports, build new ports and in­land con­tainer de­pots to im­prove cargo and pas­sen­ger han­dling.

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