The Policy Dialogue session was chaired by Mr. Syed Ershad Ahmed, President – AmCham held on Sunday 27th July 2022, at 12pm at the SHERATON Hotel, BANANI, Dhaka where Dr. Md. Mamun Habib, FCILT, SMIEEE, Professor, Independent University, Bangladesh; Visiting Scientist, University of Texas – Arlington, USA shared the Keynote presentation. Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Chairman, Policy Exchange of Bangladesh moderated the discussion where Mr. Kabir Ahmed, President, Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association(BAFFA) and Mr. Naquib Khan President, Bangladesh Supply Chain Management Society (BSCMS) participated as the designated discussant.
Since Bangladesh economy is in growing status, our growth story has been fueled by the emergence and nurturing of an export-oriented textile and ready-made garments industry. National Strategies like 8th Five Year Plan and Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2041 are envisioning an export-led growth strategy, where a dynamic logistics sector is critical. Logistics improvement will lead to enhanced competitiveness of Bangladeshi products. Better logistics can increase trade volume, diversify export, bring foreign direct investment, and boost economic growth . Improved logistics will help to reduce pervasive congestion and delays in the logistics system be it roads, seaports or land ports. Logistics sector in Bangladesh is not yet formally recognized by the government which means the sector does not enjoy benefits or incentives like recognized sectors. Lack of a National Logistics Policy led to uncoordinated logistics sub-sectoral growth. At present nine ministries and 21 government agencies are involved in setting up policies, regulations, planning, operating infrastructure, and providing services in logistics arena. Poor intermodal interconnectivity and capacity constraints of ports need to be addressed in coordination with the public and private sector.
The complexity of these challenges requires a multi-faceted policy response since the next phase could be much more challenging. It is crucial that the government, private sector, and concerned stakeholders in Bangladesh all step up and work together to adapt as best we can. We at AmCham Bangladesh with a diverse membership base and outlook focusing on global, national or business ecosystem at large, attempt to develop an approach that might help the business & regulatory leadership set the priorities on right strategies making rapid and inevitable remedies.
“Bangladesh fetched $52 billion from exports in the previous fiscal year but it would be possible to earn at least $63 billion if the logistics services were improved,” said Mr. Masrur Reaz, chairman of the Policy Exchange. For instance, the current cost of hiring trailer trucks for transporting goods in the country is $0.12 per kilometre but the rate is $0.6 in Indonesia and about $0.2 in India, he added while referring to a recent study by the World Bank.
AmCham President said estimated employment in the logistics and transport sectors is around 5 million collectively, including more than 1,100 freight forwarders, 5,000 carrying and forwarding agents and several thousand workers in different services, such as port handling, and air, ocean, road, rail and waterway transport. “The upcoming economic zones and opening of Padma Bridge definitely have great potential to help add more commodities to the export basket,” he added.
A good number of AmCham members including the Executive Committee Members, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, media representatives and other distinguished guests attended. Mr. Syed Mohammad Kamal, Vice President – AmCham & Country Manager, Mastercard – Bangladesh coordinated the event and offered the vote of thanks.