BBIN is an initiative taken to promote safe, economical efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region and to further help each country create an institutional mechanism for regional integration.
The proposed land ports are to be established in Sheola at Bianibazar in Sylhet, Thegamukh at Barkal in Rangamati, and Bhomra in Satkhira.
The detailed project proposal for the three ports has already been prepared and sent to the Shipping Ministry, sources said at Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA).
Feasibility studies have already been completed for setting up the three new land ports, according to the BLPA.
The new Bhomra port will be very close to Kolkata in India. If the facilities of this port are developed properly, businesses of both countries will be highly benefited since import-export costs will go down considerably, said the land port authority.
Earlier, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan said the government will develop Sheola, Thegamukh, and Bhomra land ports to expand regional trade and economic activities.
The World Bank has promised to finance $142 million to Bangladesh to develop the ports, sources said.
The WB Country Director Qimiao Fan had earlier said in Dhaka the Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project-1 will help reduce time and cost of regional trade.
The project has several components. First, it will support the investment to improve a couple of land ports under the shipping ministry and support the National Board of Revenue to set up a single window for trade.
Second, the project will improve the capacity of traders by providing them with support and services.
A BLPA official said the decision to establish the land ports has been taken to increase economic activities in areas where these will be located.
“With increasing economic activities, import-export costs will decrease. Local people will benefit from the project,” he said.
Bangladesh has 2,400km land border, 92% of which is with India and 8% with Myanmar, Bangladesh border trade is looked after by 181 land customs stations.
Some 22 of 181 land customs stations along with 4,246 kilometres of Bangladesh’s border with India and Myanmar have been declared as land ports, according to the land port authorities. Some of them are not fully functional due to lack of infrastructure.
Of the land ports, 21 are along the Indian border, with only one being in the vicinity of Myanmar – Teknaf Land Port in Cox’s Bazar.