The boons promised by the Third Terminal
The opening of Dhaka airport's much awaited Third Terminal is indeed exciting news for Bangladeshis. Although travellers will have to wait till the end of next year to enjoy its facilities, this grand, state-of-the-art structure promises to offer exponential improvement in the quality of services and hopefully an end to the numerous miseries they face at the existing international terminal of the airport. Foreign trade, especially, will be greatly facilitated, which is welcome news for the business community.
The new facility is expected to significantly improve the capacity of the cargo village – the area used for transport, logistics and distribution of cargo for national and international transit. The airport currently has a very small cargo village, and this has led to many bottlenecks in cargo handling and storage, including complaints of goods being stolen, quality of products deteriorating and delays in the release of goods. The RMG sector has been particularly affected, with garment samples arriving late leading to delays in manufacturing, missed deadlines, cancellation of orders and delayed payments. Sometimes exporters alleged that they did not get the exact quantity of goods as some of them were stolen. These serious bottlenecks are expected to be eliminated at the new terminal, where more airlines will be able to handle a higher number of cargo flights.
The fully automated export and import cargo complex with expanded capacity has the potential to bring about a dramatic change in international trade for Bangladesh. Business leaders are optimistic that this increased and improved capacity will make the local businesses more competitive globally and increase the confidence of international partners.
That the terminal will be managed by a Japanese company under a public-private partnership gives us confidence that the highest standards of maintenance and efficiency will be employed. We sincerely hope that the chaos, inefficiencies, corruption and lackadaisical maintenance that we face now will all be eliminated at the new terminal. This will only be possible if the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) makes sure that such anomalies do not re-emerge in the new facility.