Waterways to become competitive transport mode: Shajahan Khan

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 14 Jun 2017, 00:26:45

Waterways to become competitive transport mode: Shajahan Khan

FE Report

Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan has said that the government will make every effort to make the waterways a competitive transport mode for the private sector.

"We will make every effort to make the waterways a competitive transport mode for the private sector. This means seamless interchange between water transport and other modes to enable efficient multimodal door-to-door service," he said while speaking at a workshop on Tuesday.

The Word Bank organised the workshop titled 'The unlocking the transformative power of waterways' at a city hotel in association with the ministries of shipping and industries and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The shipping minister said it is evident that investments in road and railways alone will not be enough to accommodate the anticipated growth in freight and passenger movement over the coming decades.

"Restoring the primacy of inland water transportation as a logical and competitive mode is a key priority for the government of Bangladesh. We firmly believe in inherent benefits of inland water transport. It is low-cost, energy-efficient, and environment-friendly".

The  minister said the government will scale up investments to provide sustained navigability of the country's waterways, modernise existing river ports, build new ports and multimodal logistics centres to improve cargo and passenger handling, and ensure efficiency and safety of all vessels plying in rivers.

He said the government has identified 65 main river navigation routes that are essential for passenger and freight transportation within Bangladesh.

"Of these, 12 have been clearly identified as high priority. A study to prioritise the remaining 53 routes has been completed," he said.

Replying to reporters' query on the sidelines, the minister said carrying a few passengers beyond capacity on Eid holidays will not be a big problem for water vessels as those avoid carrying extra weight allocated for goods during that time.

Replying to another query, the minister further said no water vessels are allowed to ply without proper fitness. The government will monitor the vessels closely.

The government-authorised vessels do not ply on routes without fitness, the minister added.

FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said the private sector's concern in transporting goods is related to time and cost. In considering cost and time, the waterways is the best mode of transportation.

"But most of the rivers in the country have lost navigability. The government must work on this and restore it," he said.

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and World Bank acting country director Rajashree S Paralkar also spoke at the workshop.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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