THE Bangladesh Land port Authority was arrange in 2001 with the enactment of the Bangladesh Land Port Act 2001 by the parliament. So, the authorities,  as an organisation, are solely 20 years previous. Nonetheless, in such a span, it has put its footprint strongly on the financial growth of the nation by facilitating commerce, fostering connectivity and stimulating progress. That is accomplished by growing infrastructure, introducing expertise and by encouragimg automaton for a clean motion of autos and passengers. This created a multiplying impact on the expansion of commerce within the area, particularly with India and different neighbouring international locations comparable to Nepal and India. Over time, a rising quantity of commerce between Bangladesh and India bears testimony to this.

The company began its operation solely with Benapole and Sonamasjid land ports, however with the passage of time, extra ports got here below its wing. The company has 24 declared land ports, of which 12 are in operation, eight are being readied for operation and relaxation 4 can be developed primarily based on the necessity.

Land ports of Bangladesh play vital roles by facilitating the motion of products and passengers to and from Bangladesh to India and different neighbouring international locations. Due to Bangladesh’s distinctive geographical place with India, land ports deliver alternatives for cross-border commerce with neighbouring international locations. Bodily proximity has enabled neighbouring international locations to commerce with Bangladesh in an reasonably priced, handy, and environment friendly method. Geographically, India surrounds Bangladesh on the north, north-east and west and Myanmar on the south-east. Bangladesh-India land border is the fifth longest on the planet, which brings alternative for each the international locations to arrange land customs stations, ports and worldwide passenger terminals for commerce, the motion of autos and passengers. This strategical place and bodily proximity of Bangladesh and India make it simpler for each the international locations to undertake mutually helpful programmes and cooperate in border commerce.

It has been noticed that Bangladesh’s land ports deliver various levels of advantages to the economic system of Bangladesh. By supporting quite a few financial actions within the bordering districts, land ports helped to flourish small merchants, tea stalls, saloons, garages, parking amenities and plenty of extra. As provider of jobs, land ports assist social features, too, by way of the creation of golf equipment, associations, gathering factors, mosques, and so forth.

With the next motion of products and passengers yr on yr, land ports are readied with extra infrastructure, provisions, and related providers. It’s now agreed on by policymakers and stakeholders that the expansion and growth of land ports result in better commerce exercise, elevated provide, job creation, and lowered costs for commodities. Everywhere in the world, it’s acknowledged that the gross home product is considerably affected by the flexibility of firms at exporting items and providers regionally and globally. So, efficient transport amenities in land ports have the potential to considerably improve financial progress and success of countries. It’s in opposition to this backdrop, land ports in Bangladesh are vital institutions to spice up whole commerce (export and import), to flourish uninterrupted regional connectivity and to assist larger GDP for the nation.

 

Inter-regional connectivity

BANGLADESH’S geographical location make it a super nation to ascertain connectivity with South Asian nations. Its sea ports, land ports and airports are situated strategically to foster interregional connectivity and reap advantages from this connectivity. It’s now admitted that nationwide and regional connectivity in South Asia helps to drive socio-economic progress by creating financial alternatives for international locations and poorer areas. Proof additionally exhibits that an improved connectivity throughout the nation between lagging and affluent areas can assist to advertise the transformation of areas that lag behind. As that is true throughout the nation, so it’s within the inter-regional context, the place land is locked or inaccessible due to tough terrains.

Bangladesh and India have a land boundary of 4,096 kilometres. This lengthy border boundary created a chance as properly challenges for each the international locations. When it comes to alternative, it created the chance for Bangladesh and India to ascertain highway and railway hyperlinks to move and transit items between India and Bangladesh and different neighbouring international locations, together with Nepal and Bhutan. Within the border space the place autos and passengers cross by one nation to a different, land ports are constructed. These land ports within the border space make commerce between Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Bhutan a lot simpler, much less costlier and predictable. Research undertaken by the World Financial institution and the Asian Improvement Financial institution present that there’s ample alternative for adjoining international locations to start commerce amongst themselves in a extra environment friendly, seamless, and hassle-free method.

A current World Financial institution report additionally confirms {that a} seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to extend nationwide revenue by as a lot as 17 per cent in Bangladesh and eight per cent in India. Similar report highlights that transport connectivity between Bangladesh and India might improve export even additional, yielding a 297 per cent improve in Bangladesh’s exports to India and a 172 per cent improve in India’s exports to Bangladesh. One other research performed by the Asian Improvement Financial institution estimates that the development of precedence regional transport corridors in Bangladesh might facilitate the motion of about 18 million tonnes of freight in Bhutan, India and Nepal.

In truth, Bangladesh has the potential to turn into a significant transport and transshipment hub within the subregion. Maintaining this in thoughts, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indian and Nepal have signed the Motor Car Settlement to facilitate cargo and passenger motion within the BBIN subregion. However due to lukewarm assist and plenty of bottlenecks from different stakeholders, the settlement is but to see the sunshine of the day.

To strengthen interregional connectivity, the Bangladesh company has undertaken a very good variety of tasks with the assist of the World Financial institution, the Asian Improvement Financial institution and by itself financing. Essentially the most notable amongst them are the ADB-supported South Asia Sub-Regional Financial Cooperation mission. This SASEC mission goals at boosting intra-regional commerce within the SASEC subregion by enhancing cross-border connectivity, by facilitating constructions and system growth within the regional and nationwide SASEC transport tasks. Below this mission, the Bangladesh company goes to develop two vital land ports of Bangladesh — Tamabil and Akhaura. The Indian ICP in opposition to these two land ports are Dawki and Agartala. As soon as amenities are developed, these two land ports will contribute immensely to the connectivity between folks and enterprise communities of the 2 international locations, guarantee a seamless motion of cargo and passengers and assist to flourish the hinterland economic system of each the international locations. This mission has not too long ago been permitted.

Below the WB Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Venture (Section-1), the land port authorities have chosen three land ports — Ramgarh, Sheola and Benapole — for refurbishing and growing new infrastructure, streamlining border administration, securing borders and ports, and harmonising system with the Indian ICPs. However as sick luck would have it, the Bangladesh Land Port Authority is but to get clearance from India’s Border Safety Drive to begin the work there. Though NOA has been issued by the Land Port Authority to the contractor, the latter is but to begin the work with a clearance from the Border Safety Drive stationed on the border of level of Sabrum and Sutarkandi, located in opposition to Bangladesh land ports Ramgarh and Sheola. One other flagship mission, Bangladesh Regional Commerce Facilitation Venture, additionally supported by the World Financial institution, is about to be permitted by the Nationwide Financial Council. This milestone mission may have an immense affect on the efficiency of the Land Port Authority, particularly within the creation of infrastructure, delivering providers, easing cross-border motion by automation and the usage of fashionable expertise within the 4 land ports —  Bhomra, Burimari, Benapole and Bholaganj.

As soon as the Bangladeshi land ports are totally developed and useful, they’ll act as a hub and financial hall for passenger and automobile motion from Bangladesh to India and the opposite method spherical. The ports may also assist Nepal and Bhutan to ferry their items to and from Bangladesh utilizing the Indian land hall. Because the ports are developed maintaining in thoughts the longer term want of transit and transshipment, they’ll act as a bridge of connectivity and friendship between folks of Bangladesh and India and different neighbouring international locations comparable to Nepal and Bhutan.

The long-awaited Padma Bridge goes to be inaugurated on June 25. It’s anticipated that this bridge will create immense alternative for India to deliver  items utilizing this bridge. Autos cleared both at Benapole or Bhomra or Hili or Banglabandha or Sonamosjid will now be capable to use this bridge. This bridge goes to cut back the space and transaction value for carrying items and passengers from Benapole, Bhomra or another western or northern land ports of Bangladesh to Dhaka or additional. If India needs to transit items from Bangladeshi land ports to Agartala, Dawki or Sutarkandi, this bridge will likely be of nice assist for straightforward and more cost effective transport. The north-eastern hilly states of India will profit closely from this connectivity. Passenger autos will be capable to ferry between the 2 international locations with much less time and value. This bridge will certainly create multiplying impact on the economic system of Bangladesh in addition to within the area, which can permit land ports of Bangladesh to prepare for the surge of passengers and items to be ferried.

It’s evident that Bangladesh will profit from this connectivity and integration. Particularly south-western districts of Bangladesh will take pleasure in bigger beneficial properties in actual revenue. India states bordering Bangladesh comparable to Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura within the northeast, and West Bengal within the west. Indian states additional away from Bangladesh comparable to Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra would additionally achieve enormous financial advantages from the seamless connectivity. This can have spillover results on Nepal and Bhutan, too. In truth, regional connectivity presents the promise of long-term sustainable and inclusive progress within the area. To reap the advantages, each Bangladesh and India should work collectively and mend the variations on the earliest.

 

Promotion of commerce

TRADE between nations has all the time made a major contribution by way of rising wealth among the many world populations and there’s sturdy correlation between commerce and gross home product. It’s true that ports are vital and needed element in facilitating commerce. Within the case of Bangladesh and India, land ports are the first conduit for bilateral commerce and vital for the expansion of economies. The land ports are gateway to round 40 per cent of commerce by quantity between Bangladesh and India.

Geographically, Bangladesh’s location makes it a strategic gateway to India, Nepal, Bhutan, and different East Asian international locations. Bangladesh also can turn into an financial powerhouse by enhancing regional commerce, transit and logistic networks. However due to totally different tariff and non-tariff limitations, this profit remains to be a distant dream. Added to that is the malaise of insufficient infrastructure, poor highway community, handbook and paper heavy checking system, totally different workplace timing for the ports. Commerce between Bangladesh and India accounts for under about 10 per cent of Bangladesh’s commerce and a mere 1 per cent of India’s commerce. Whereas, in East Asian and Sub-Saharan African economies, intraregional commerce accounts for 50 per cent and 22 per cent of whole commerce. Therefore, the promotion of commerce for mutual advantages of the folks of Bangladesh and India is a should.

In 2019, Bangladesh exported items valued at $47.2 billion and imported items valued at $55.6 billion. The highest origin international locations for imports into Bangladesh are China ($17.3 billion), India ($8.24 billion), Singapore ($2.96 billion), Malaysia ($2.33 billion) and Indonesia ($1.91 billion). The highest vacation spot international locations for exports of Bangladesh are the USA ($6.86 billion), Germany ($6,69 billion), United Kingdom ($3,92 billion), Spain ($6.86 billion) and France ($3.33 billion). It’s evident from the export determine that though Bangladesh is the second-largest importing nation from India, in time period of Bangladeshi exports to India, it is extremely negligible. The export-import determine collected from land ports of Bangladesh bears testimony to this. Statistics present that whole import of Bangladesh are 9 to 10 instances larger than whole export of Bangladesh to India. India imports round $400 billion price of commodities from the worldwide market however Bangladesh’s contribution to the the large import market may be very small, even not price $1 billion. Bangladesh’s commerce with India is simply lower than a half of its present potential.

On the opposite facet, if we have a look at Nepal and Bhutan, we see that India is the marketplace for roughly 70 per cent and 90 per cent of Nepal and Bhutan’s export. Because the 2000s, India’s commerce with Nepal elevated from $0.3 million in 2000–2001 to $7.9 billion in 2019–20. Moreover, roughly 75 per cent of Nepal’s and 100 per cent of Bhutan’s international commerce transits by India. Varied tariff and non-tariff limitations, transport, and clearance delay together with infrastructure deficit notably, the harmonisation of laws and customs procedures in designated border posts create obstacles and account for this poor efficiency.

Nevertheless, land ports of Bangladesh might be gateway for exports of Bangladeshi items to the ever-expanding Indian market. Particularly, Bangladeshi items can attain Indian seven jap states simply the place tough terrains have impeded communication and resultantly elevated prices for Indian commodities to succeed in the far-flung states. Bangladesh’s 5 to seven land ports are geographically situated to serve these states in a greater method. In truth, Bangladesh’s Akhaura, Sheola, Tamabil, Bibirbazar and Bilonia to some extent serving this want. However this isn’t to the optimum due to some impediments.

 

Land ports in financial growth

THERE is a robust correlation between commerce progress, commerce facilitation and financial progress. It has been pointed that growth in commerce due to enhanced commerce facilitation might result in will increase within the per capita GDP in Asia and Pacific international locations by about 2.5 per cent. Ports play an vital function as a gatekeeper and facilitator on this case.

Evidences of financial affect of land ports by way of mixture revenue era, worth addition and employment era are convincing. There isn’t a denying the truth that land ports of Bangladesh are taking part in an vital function within the economic system of Bangladesh. Prior to now 20 years, the Bangladesh Land Port Authority has contributed exceptionally to the event of the nation, particularly by producing income and employment, fostering small companies, flourishing progress centres, empowering males, and girls within the locality the place it operates. Statistics present that the company has earned Tk 1,370 crores in income and deposited to the federal government exchequer an quantity Tk 50 crore till 2021. It has a deposit of round Tk 300 crores in several banks as short- and long-term credit. It has additionally created job for greater than 10,000 labourers in land ports and almost 4 hundred folks work within the Bangladesh Land Port Authority completely, with a very good variety of them being ladies.

Land crossings account for almost 40 per cent of all bilateral commerce between Bangladesh and India and play an vital function in strengthening commerce ties whereas lowering prices. The environment friendly motion of individuals and items between the 2 international locations is crucial for lowering the prices of commerce, fostering financial synergies to assist progress, and driving inclusive socioeconomic growth throughout the SASEC subregion. Items journey between Bangladesh and India by highway, railway, air, maritime, and inland waterways, with 38.5 per cent of all commerce in 2018 having crossed by land.

A lot of the items travelling from Bangladesh to India transfer by land, with 70.4 per cent of exports to India having been transported by highway or rail. That is to substantiate that with the expansion of commerce and commerce facilitation, financial growth follows logically. Within the case of the Asia and Pacific area, it’s noticed that growth of commerce and commerce facilitation elevated gross home product per capita by about 2.5 per cent.

Equally, additionally it is noticed that reducing direct and oblique commerce transaction prices by 1 per cent can lead to a mean of 0.25–0.4 per cent improve in gross home product. That is evident that enchancment in commerce facilitation can doubtlessly generate not solely extra commerce, but in addition increase the nationwide gross home product. The uncooked supplies which can be wanted for trade is cleared by the land ports, used on the native factories and industries and after including worth, the ultimate merchandise are then exported to the European Union or the USA.

Often, the border space of the nation is generally boring and moribund, having no trade, no market or progress centres. So, the organising of land ports within the border space creates lot of exercise within the locality and the area. Regularly, it adjustments the socio-economic situation of the world fully. As soon as out of contact with modernity, land ports fully change the panorama of that space with small companies. The socio-economic affect of the land ports is immense and far-reaching on the economic system and lives of the folks in Bangladesh. So, there’s extra demand for extra land ports in different distant areas of Bangladesh the place India has LC stations or related land ports.

It exhibits clear that land ports play an vital function within the commerce facilitation and financial progress of Bangladesh. Regardless of the share of progress is contributed by land ports largely come from the export and the import of products and the provisioning of logistic providers. Alongside this, the era of employment alternatives and the addition of values within the neighborhood additionally contribute to this financial progress. It’s now unanimously agreed on by policymakers and stakeholders that land ports in Bangladesh have a robust affect on the commerce, regional progress, and other people to folks connectivity. Located within the border space removed from the centre, the land ports are seen as structuring parts throughout the environment by selling enterprise, small trades, banks, workplaces, and plenty of different supporting actions and organisations.

It’s on this method, land ports work as pillars to the event of the economic system and connectivity of the area. It’s noticed that land port infrastructure stimulates the method of financial progress and that is true that this progress is contingent on manufacturing capability, expertise and logistical prowess of the ports. Recent funding in ports by authorities and donor assist helps to realize this purpose. By way of the export and te import of products and providers, the availability of ancillary providers, the event of supporting railway and highway infrastructure, land ports of Bangladesh serve to an important extent the larger purpose of attaining the imaginative and prescient of a a affluent and developed nation by 2041.

It is usually acknowledged that land ports of Bangladesh have nice potential to contribute extra to the socio-economic growth of Bangladesh however lack of massive investments in infrastructure and lagging in the usage of expertise and sluggish introduction of automated border system, lack of coordination among the many businesses have a detrimental impact on the general efficiency of the land ports. The Perspective Plan of Bangladesh (2021–2041) goals at enhancing export competitiveness by addressing cross-cutting points.

To achieve from the bilateral or multilateral commerce, to make sure interregional connectivity and financial progress, land ports of Bangladesh should be readied to streamline processes, set congenial coverage framework and harmonise working system. In an automatic, digitised and harmonised border administration system, buying and selling international locations will be capable to profit to the optimum as this technique will scale back the transaction value and waste of time. The Bangladesh Land Port Authority is trying ahead to chartering a journey the place border commerce will likely be paperless, seamless and hassle-free; and taking part international locations will be capable to reap the advantages by buying and selling with one another effectively and confidently.

 

Md Alamgir is chairman of the Bangladesh Land Port Authority.



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