A recently published World Bank report has revealed that Bangladesh could significantly boost export growth, maintain its position as a leading garment and textile manufacturer, and create more jobs by improving its transport and logistics systems. The report states that if there was no congestion on the road, transportation costs, the largest direct logistics cost in Bangladesh, would be 35 percent lower. It has also warned that these two factors combined with inadequate infrastructure and fragmented governance have been hampering manufacturing and freight and are putting the country’s robust growth path at risk.
Since efficient logistics and transportation system are two of the main drivers for achieving high export growth, the government should give serious attention to improving these sectors. Reportedly, the average cost of carrying a tonne per kilometre in Bangladesh is USD 0.095, which is higher than many developing and developed countries, including the US, France, Australia, India, and Pakistan. And the social cost of annual carbon dioxide emission from road freight transport in Bangladesh is equivalent to 1.2 percent of the GDP, with almost 60 percent of the emission caused by congestion. The average waiting time of an export container at the Chattogram Port is four days, while for an import container, it is 11 days. In order to reduce congestion on roads, our high dependency on road transport (about 84 percent) should be cut down and emphasis should be given on railway and riverine transport. The government should work on making a sustainable plan to improve all the modes of transportation.
The government has already put emphasis on infrastructure development, what it needs to do now is manage the infrastructure effectively. A greater coordination among public institutions and private sectors involved in logistics is needed. Also, the dwell time (time spent in the same position) at the Chattogram Port needs to be cut down. Improvement in these two sectors (transportation and logistics) will put the country in the right path to become a middle-income country.