Highway capacity far short of enhanced port facility

| Updated: April 17, 2022 17:59:07

Highway capacity far short of enhanced port facility

The capacity of connecting highways fall far short in matching with the enhanced import-export handling capacity of Bangladesh's largest seaport, exporters allege, as they routinely fail shipment schedules.

Cargo-handling and-releasing capacity of the Chittagong Seaport has been increased with different initiatives of the government in recent times while smooth transportation of the consignments remained poor, they say.

Readymade garment exporters have found the existing insufficient road capacities as one of the major obstacles to shipment of products on time to the international buyers.

Some 7,000 trucks and lorries enter and exit from the seaport every day with import-export goods.

Transportation of those products to the factory through the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway remained troublesome due to limited road facilitates.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) first vice-president Syed Nazrul Islam Chowdhury feels that heavy weight-loading capacity with 10 to 12 lanes is required on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway to materialise government bid to boost industrialisation.

"We would place formal request to the government over one of the major hurdles to export of goods due to insufficient road capacity," he says.

The exporters and importers would not be able to reap full benefit of the port's capacity development unless the road capacity is increased to transport the products, he adds.

The Dhaka-Chittagong Highway practically remains a four-lane one despite the government claim it as six-lane, sometimes, he observed.

Official sources say work has already begun to elevate the existing four-lane highways to six-lane ones.

Mr Islam notes that the government has been developing Economic Zones and Bay Terminal and has launched different development projects in the port city and in its adjacent areas. "So, road capacitates on the highways should be increased simultaneously for ensuring smooth supply of goods."

According to axle-load policy, six-wheeler trucks of two axles are allowed to carry 22 tonnes of products while ten-wheelers of three axles can carry 30 tonnes and 14 wheelers of four axles 40 tonnes.

On average, some 4,800 TEUs (twenty equivalent units) of products are imported through the Chittagong port every day and around 4,300 TEUs of empty and load containers are exported.

Among the export containers, nearly 2100-TEU-load containers carry export goods.

The Chittagong seaport is able to deliver 3,800 TEUs of containers every day.

The country currently has a 22,000-kilometre road network, of which 4,000 kilometres constitute highways.

Meanwhile, the demand for transportation in the country is increasing at a rate of 8-10 per cent annually, and 80 per cent of these vehicles are Dhaka-centric, according to a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The government has a move to upgrade the country's main economic corridor to a standard regional highway for accommodating its increasing traffic load.

Earlier, Roads and Highways Department had demanded nearly Tk 10 billion as maintenance cost from the Planning Commission on grounds that overloaded vehicles damage the road.

In 2005, the first Dhaka-Chattogram four-lane project was taken and its construction began in 2011.The project cost escaleted to Tk 34.39 billion from Tk 16.99 billion as it took six more years to complete the works.

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