Speakers on Sunday urged the government to modernize the existing “Warehouse Ordinance Act 1959” and allow a regulation for common bonded warehouse facilities to accelerate growth of private investment in the country.
They identified factors such as absence of proper regulatory policies, limited land availability, absence of common bonded warehouses and high cost of buying lands as major barriers for warehousing in Bangladesh.
They made the remarks in a workshop organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and supported by International Finance Corporation (IFC) at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka.
The speakers also asked for allocation of dedicated lands for industrial warehouse activities under land zoning maps and emphasized on an easy transportation system that will have smooth connectivity with the ports.
In the workshop, World Bank Group commissioned a study on “Bangladesh logistics costs study: Assessment of storage and warehousing” to analyze current and future industry potential and estimate the size of warehousing markets in Bangladesh. Secretary of Shipping Ministry Md Abdus Samad was present as the chief guest.
Lead private sector specialist, Global Trade and Connectivity of World Bank Charles Kunaka and Director, Market Research and Advisory of Knight Frank Ltd Sugata Sarker shared key findings of the study.
“The warehousing market in Bangladesh is largely fragmented and is in a nascent stage of development,” said Sugata Sarker in his speech. “More than 95% warehouses, other than the government ones, are captive warehouses.”
In his welcome speech, DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan said storage and warehousing competency is the core enabler of an efficient logistics landscape. He further talked about how the country has been overburdened with communication infrastructure challenges which deter the potential of logistic growth and cross border trade expansion.
Secretary of Shipping Ministry Md Abdus Samad said: “Port facilities in the country have improved a lot. There are 25 jetties in Chattogram Port which remain active for 24 hours.”
He further informed in the future 30% of port management projects will be implemented through public private partnership initiative.
Senior economist at IFC, World Bank Group, Dr Masrur Reaz said: “Our exports are increasing. The manufacturing sector alone accounts for 26% of the total export volume.”
He added that a smooth flow of goods across the country would accelerate export competitiveness. He further informed a modern warehousing policy framework would be needed as the demand for warehousing industries will double in the next four to five years.
President of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association Mahbubul Anam urged for a separate ministry of logistics and a common bonded warehousing system that would ensure the systems remain in order to be competitive in the global value chain.
On the other hand, Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, IFC Wendy Werner emphasized on a separate policy framework for warehousing and storage.
Other speakers included Director and Convener of Transportation and logistics sub-committee, FICCI Rashedul Ahsan, DCCI former presidents MH Rahman and Asif Ibrahim, and DCCI Senior Vice-President Kamrul Islam.