Bangladesh will get a $360 million World Bank fund to modernise its inland waterways.
The project will boost national and regional trade, the global lender said on Thursday in a statement
The Bangladesh Regional Waterway Transport Project 1 will improve navigability of 900km waterways along the Chittagong-Dhaka-Ashuganj corridor and connecting routes.
It will significantly reduce travel time and cost for cargo and passenger shipment.
“As a riverine country, Bangladesh has a large inland water transport sector, which, if strengthened, can support the needs of its growing export-oriented economy,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
“This project will modernise and improve the multimodal transport and logistics system in the country and with its neighbours,” he added.
It is part of a Regional Connectivity and Integration Program supported by the World Bank for the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) countries.
The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association has a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75%.
Under the project, a new general cargo terminal will be constructed at Pangaon and the existing terminal at Ashuganj will be improved. Also, new passenger terminals will be built and existing ones at Sadarghat, Narayanganj, Chandpur, and Barisal will be rehabilitated.
Fourteen landing stations will be built in shoals to help the poor living in remote areas. The terminals and landing stations will be constructed to improve security, safety, and sanitation conditions.
The project will also help build the capacity of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and aim at achieving long-term operational and financial sustainability.
“High transport costs, low efficiency and delays in the logistics chain increase trade costs and reduce the competitiveness of Bangladesh’s products”, said Diep Nguyen-van Houtte, World Bank Team Leader for the project.
“By improving riverine connectivity, the project will make movement easier for traders, producers, passengers and cargo on multimodal transport networks in the sub-region, and help the poorest who rely on inland waterways as a mode of transport.”