Problems of Water Transport in Bangladesh And It’s Possible Solutions

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Problems of Water Transport in Bangladesh And It’s Possible Solutions

1.0 Introduction

Transportation, as old as human civilization means movement of people and goods to meet the derived demands for the time being. Transportation systems permit people and goods to overcome the friction of geographical space efficiently in order to participate in a timely manner in some desired activities. The major classification of transportation system is given below:

Travel by water is a very ancient practice. It predates the wheel, and still remains a vital part of the transport mix for millions of people in rural and urban areas. Yet in a world which associates roads and motor vehicles with progress and development, water transport is neglected and undervalued. Rivers have long been natural ‘highways’ through land that would otherwise be impassable. Rivers and canals are often viewed for their potential to provide new land routes, or land for building development.

Water transport Bangladesh lies at the apex of the Bay of Bengal and has rivers that come down from the surrounding countries and flow through it. Nearly the whole area of the country consists a low and plain lands and about 7% of its surface is covered by a dense 24,000 km long network of inland waterways. Three major river systems and their confluence form the world’s largest DELTA here. Bangladesh has about 9,000 sq km of territorial waters with a 720-km long coast line and 20000 sq km of Economic Resources Zone (ERZ) in the sea.

2.0 Existing Water Transportation System in Bangladesh

Water transport is an important component of Bangladesh’s transport infrastructure. More than half of the country’s total land area is within 10 kilometers of a navigable waterway. Inland water transport is responsible for carrying 36 per cent of the freight and 13 per cent of all passengers in the country (World Bank Project No. BD-PE-9540).

2.1 At a glance

(i)Total Length of waterways : 14000 km.

(700 Rivers)

(ii) Navigable Waterways : 5968 km. (Rainy season)

3600 km. (Dry season)

(iii) No. of Inland River ports : 11 (Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chandpur,

Barisal, Khulna, Patuakhali, Baghabari,

Aricha, Nagarbari, Daulatdia & Narsingdi)

(iv) No. of Coastal Island Ports : 23

(Developed by BIWTA)

(v) No. of Ferry ghats : 7 (Aricha, Nagarbari, Daulatdia, Bhuapur, Sirajganj, Mawa and Charjanajat)

(vi) No. of Launchghats : 1330

(vii) No. of Launchghats : 233

(Developed by BIWTA)

(viii) No. of Passenger vessels : 230


(ix) No. of Registered : 4372

Mechanised Vessels

(x) No. of Registered : 783

Non- Mechanised Vessels

(xi) No. of Passenger carried : 72.08 Million

(a) By Motor Launch : 65.72 Million

(b) By Steamer : 0.97 Million

(c) By Ferry service : 5.39 Million

(xii) Quantum of cargo carried : 5.87 Million (M. Ton)

(xiii) Water Route Maintained by BIWTA

(a) 12” Draft : Trunk Route Class-I 683 k.m.

(b) 6” Draft : Transit Route Class-II 1000 km.

(c) 3” Draft : Secondary Route Class-III 1885 km.

(d) Less than 3’ draft : Class-IV 2400 km.

Source: Fleet: Register of Inland Shipping Dhaka, POMMD Chittagong and BIWTC; Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh,Year Book of Chittagong Port Authority & Mongla Port Authority; Cargo: Individual operator and BIWTA; Department of Hydrography BIWTA; Between Bangladesh & India.

2.2 Existing Scenario

The water transportation networks, which vary from 6,000 km in navigable waterways during the monsoon to about 3,800 km during the dry season, not only cater for inland movement of freight and passenger but also play a key role in the transportation of import and export cargo through the ports of Chittagong and Mongla. While the government provides the infrastructures for inland transport, the services are dominated by the private sector. The country boat plays a significant role and provides for about 58 % of the total employment in the transport sector as a whole. The following public sector generally provide all types of facilities, maintenances and make policies to stimulate the water transportation system in Bangladesh:

Ø Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA)

Ø Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC)

Ø Chittagong and Mongla Sea-Port

Ø Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC)

The infrastructure facilities and services in the inland water transport (IWT) sub-sector are provided by the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) respectively.

The seaports serving Bangladesh are Chittagong in the east and Mongla in the west. About 77% of total sea-borne export and import of the country are handled by the Chittagong port. On average, Chittagong port handles about 80 percent of the imports and 70 percent of the exports, while Mongla port handles the rest of export and imports freight. Both the seaport of Bangladesh are suffering from “draft” problem, requiring lighter age to carry cargo up to jetty from distant anchorage accommodating big vessels of over 25 thousand DIVT. This problem will be attended to in concrete terms in the Fifth Plan.

In maritime shipping, the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC), a public sector organization provides about 60 percent of the services in respect of Dead Weight Tons (DWT), while Bangladeshi private sector provides only 40 percent. Presently, Bangladesh handles only 16 percent of the overall import and export cargo.

2.3 Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA)

Under Ordinance No. LXXV of 1958 the Authority was set up in November, 1958 development, maintenance and control of Inland Water Transportation and certain inland navigable waterways in Bangladesh.

2.3.1 Function of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA)

Ø Carryout the river conservancy works including river training works for navigational purpose and for provisions of aids to navigation, including marks, buoys, lights and semaphore signals.

Ø Disseminate navigational and meteorological information including publishing river charts. Carry out removal of wrecks and obstruction in inland navigable waterways.

Ø Maintain pilot age and hydrographic survey services. Draw up programs of dredging requirements and priorities for efficient maintenance of existing navigable waterways and for resuscitation of dead or dying rivers, channels or cannels including development of new channels or cannels for navigation.

Ø Develop, maintain and operate inland river ports, landing ghats and terminal facilities. Approve time tables for passenger services.

Ø Conduct traffic surveys to establish passengers and cargo requirements on the main rivers, feeders and crack routes.

Ø Develop the most economical facilities for passengers’ traffic to ensure comfort, safety and speed on mechanized craft. Fix maximum and minimum fares rates and fright for Inland Water Transport on behalf of the Government.

Ø Develop rural water transport by progressing of schemes for modernizing and mechanizing country craft.

Ø Ensure co-ordination of Inland Water Transport with other forms of transport, with major sea ports and with trade and agriculture interests for the optimum utilization of the available transport capacity.

Ø Conduct research in matters relating to Inland Water Transports including development of: a) Craft design b) Technique of towage c) Landing and terminal facilities d) Port installations.

Ø Arrange programs of technical training for Inland Water Transport personnel within and outside Bangladesh.

Ø Maintain liaison with the shipyard and ship repair industry to meet the requirements of the Inland Water Transport fleet repairs and new construction.

2.3.2 Departments of BIWTA

Following 3 departments of BIWTA are involved in the operations of inland river port:

Ø Engineering Department – responsible for construction, repair and maintenance of shore facilities, such as, terminal buildings, terminal sheds jetties, wrong ways, quays, godowns, roads and parking yards.

Ø Conservancy and Pilotage – provides floating facilities, such as, pontoons, buoys and moorings.

Ø Port and Traffic – responsible for operation and utilization of the above facilities and realization of port revenue from their users.

BIWTA’s Hydrography Department maintains the water ways for safe and effective navigation and for other uses. Ports are operated and managed under certain specific legal provision namely Port Act – 1908 and Port Rules – 1966.

Fig 02: Organization Setup of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority

Engineering deptt. Mechanical & marine engineering deptt. BIWTA marine work shop Dredging unit Audit deptt. Hydrography deptt conservancy & pilotage secretariate deptt. Decck personel trainning centre Ports & traffic deptt. Accounts deptt. Finance deptt. Planning deptt. Purchase & stores deptt.
Chief engineer Chief marine engineer Manager Deputy chief marine engineer Director audit Director hydrography Director conservancy & pilotage deptt. Secretary Principal dptc Director ports & traffic Director accounts Director finance Director planning Director purchase& stores
Field offices Dhaka Narayanganj Chandpur Sirajanj Aricha Barisal Khulna Patuakali Chittagong Field offices Barisal Narayaganj Field offices: Barisal Narayanganj Field offices: narayan-ganj Mymenshingh Jessore Chanpur Chittagong Barisal Field offices Barishal Chittagong Sirajganj Aricha Dhaka Narayanganj Khulna Chandpur Field offices: Dhaka Narayanganj khulna Barishal Chandpur Chittagong PATUAKHALI ARICHA NAGARBARI DAULATDIA BAGHABARI NARSHINDI Field offices: Barisal Narayanganj Sirajganj Aricha KHULNA CHITTEAGONG DHAKA CHANDPUR Field offices: Khulna Chandpur CHITTAGONG Field officers Narayanganj Chattagong

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

2.4 Inland Port Facilities

Following eleven Inland river ports have been developed and provided with modern port facilities. These inland ports are directly controlled, managed and administrated by the Ports & Traffic Department of BIWT Authority.

2.4.1 Dhaka Port

This port about 17 km ling situated on the bank of the river Buriganga at Dhaka. The port was formally opened in June, 1967. Facilities include 2 nos. two storied terminal buildings, 3 RCC jetties, 8 steel gangways and 20 pontoon jetties. Local traffic is mixed with cargo trucks and passengers for the launches which is a real problem. There is no railway connection to the portthough the rail station is only 4 km away. The passenger terminals serving the private launch services are provided with an 80 m long pontoon.

2.4.2 Narayanganj Port

The port situated on the bank of the river Sityalakhya at Narayanganj. The port was formally opened in June 1955. Facilities include one two storied terminal building, 7 RCC jetties, 19 pontoon jetties, Godowns covering 62,000 sq-ft (5,760sq-m). This port situated about 25 km south of Dhaka, is served by rail and is considered on alternative access and departure point for Dhaka bound & Dhaka originated cargo. Many private industrial establishments such as jute processing industry have their own berthing and handling facilities.

2.4.3 Chandpur Port

This port is about 7 km Long and is situated on the bank on the river Dakatia at Chandpur. The port was formally opened in August, 1967. Facilities include one single storied terminal building, 3 RCC jetties, and 8 pontoon jetties. Main activities are 2 jute mills with berthing and handling facilities, intermediate stations of a good number of passenger service and POL. The Government has a large store about 3 km inside the port area.

2.4.4 Barishal Port

The port is about 5 km Long is situated by the bank on the river Kirtankhola at Barishal. The port was formally opened in September, 1967. Facilities include one single storied terminal building, one floating terminal and one terminal shed and 9 pontoon jetties. Main cargoes handled are food, grain and fertilizer. This port is considered as the main distribution point for southern area between Chittagong and Dhaka.

2.4.5 Khulna Port

This port about 20 km long was formally opened in March 1967 and is situated by the bank on the river Rupsha at Khulna. Facilities include 2 (two) storied terminal building, 1 RCC jetties, 8 pontoon jetties, 2 godowns covering 4200 sq ft (about 400 sq-m). This port handles a considerable volume of cargo and partially serves the function of a sea port as most cargo originates from or destined or ocean going ships at Mongla, which is not connected to the railway system. Jute bailing companies are dominating on the eastern bank and Khulna shipyard is the most prominent for other industries.

2.4.6 Patuakhali Port

This port is situated by the bank of the river Lohalia. The port was formally opened in November, 1975. Facilities include 1 (one) storied terminal building, 2 pontoon jetties. Main activity is passenger traffic and local service of country boats.

2.4.7 Baghabari Port

This port about 5 km long, and is situated by the bank on the river Hoorasagar. The port was formally opened in November, 1983. Facilities include 2 rams with 2 jetties and a transit shed of 1080 sq ft (about100 sq-m). Main commodities are food grain and POL. The highway to north Bengal runs along the boundary of the port.

2.4.8 Aricha

The port is situated on the bank of the riverJamuna. The port was formally opened in March, 1983. Facilities include 1 storied terminal shed, 3 ferry ghats with pontoon and two Ro-Ro ferry ghats. Mainly inter connecting ports to Nagarbari for road transports carrying passengers. The other side is adjoining port to Daulatdia.

2.4.9 Nagarbari Port

The port situated on the west bank of the riverJamuna. The port was formally opened in March, 1983. Facilities include 1 terminal, 1 pontoon jetty, 1 ferry ghat with pontoon and two Ro-Ro ferry ghats. Mainly inter connecting ports to Nagarbari for road transports carrying passengers.

2.4.10 Daulatdia Port

The port was formally opened in March, 1983 and is situated on the west bank of the riverJamuna. Facilities include one landing pontoon and two ferry ghats with pontoons. Mainly passenger launches are handled.

2.4.11 Narshingdi Port

This port about is situated by the bank on the river Meghna. The port was formally opened in July, 1990. Facilities include one two storied terminal building and one pontoon.

2.5 Zone of water ways

For smooth and efficient operation and control on the waterways the, enter navigable waterways has been divided in to the following zone:

Table 01: Zone of water ways

Name of zone District under that zone
Dhaka Dhaka, Mymensing, Gazipur, Tangail and part of Jamalpur
Narayangonj Comilla, Narayngonj and part of Brahmanbaria
Barisal Faridpur, Bakerganj, Patuakali, Barguna, Jhalkhati, Bhola, Pirojpur and western half of Laxmipur.
Khulna Khulna, Jessore, Kushtia, Gopalganj, Bagerhat, Shatkhira, magura, Jenidha and Narail.
Northern (Sirajgonj) Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bagura, Rajshahi, Pabna, Tangail, Jamalpur, and Siranganj
Sylhet Sylehet, Sunamganj, Hobiganj, maulavibazar, Netrokona and Gratter part of Kishorgonj and remaining half Brahmanbaria
Chittagong Chittagong, Rangamati Hil Tracts, Bandarban hill tracts, Khagrachari hill tracts and remanig half of Noakhali.

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

2.6 Major Routes of the Inland Waterways

The major Routes of the Inland Waterways have denoted below:

Fig 03: Major Routes of the Inland Waterways

2.7 Some Significant Features

2.7.1 Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Summary of Manpower as on 30.06.99

Table 02: Summary of Manpower of BIWTA.

Name of Department Officer Staff Total
Sanctioned Posts Existing Post Vacant Posts Sanctioned Posts Existing Post Vacant Posts Sanctioned Posts Existing Post Vacant Posts
Secretariat 30 24 6 181 151 30 211 175 36
Ports & Traffic Department 76 52 24 599 482 117 675 534 141
Engineering Department 79 58 21 221 156 65 300 214 86
Purchase & Stores Department 13 9 4 69 51 18 82 60 22
Planning Department 16 12 4 19 16 03 35 28 07
Dredging Unit 44 35 9 63 44 19 107 79 28
Hydrography Department 96 66 30 163 136 27 259 202 57
Mechanical & Marine Engineering Department 27 21 6 363 281 82 390 302 88
Deck Personnel Training Centre 10 07 3 17 15 02 27 22 05
Accounting Department 48 39 9 155 126 29 203 165 38
Finance Department 31 17 14 49 40 09 80 57 23
Audit Department 13 8 5 13 11 02 26 19 07
Barishal Marine Workshop 28 8 20 386 135 251 414 143 271
Conservancy & Pilotage Department 44 27 17 1445 1291 154 1489 1318 171
Total 555 383 172 3743 2935 808 4298 3318 980

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Summary of Manpower as on 30.06.99

Fig 04: Summary of Manpower of BIWTA.

2.7.2 Year Wise Revenue earning

Table 03: Year Wise Revenue earning

Year 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-98
Revent Earning

(Tk. In 00000)

1657.51 2020.86 2305.63 2694.99 2619.64 2722.17

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

2.7.3 Revenue receipt by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation

Table 04: Year Wise Revenue receipt by BIWTA.

Year Passenger service (Lakh Tk.) Ferry service

(Lakh Tk).

Cargo service

(Lakh Tk.)


(Lakh Tk.)

1995-96 369 6130 612 7111
1996-97 402 7494 398 8294
1997-98 473 8019 210 8702
1998-99 480 6229 326 7035
1999-00 455 6303 371 7129

Source: Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh 2000, 21st Edition.

2.7.3 Carrying Condition

Table 05: Year Wise Carrying Condition

Year 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99
Cargo Carried in 00000 MT Private 43.57 46.82 49.46 54.98 58.08 54.95 57.68
Public 2.42 2.55 2.08 1.93 1.26 0.90 1.05
Total 45.99 49.37 51.54 56.91 59.34 55.85 58.73
Passenger Carried in 00000NoS. Private 426.18 578.26 571.00 581.70 671.50 760.30
Public 68.70 84.60 97.80 95.50 120.90 117.70
Total 494.86 662.86 668.80 677.20 792.40 878.00 720.80
Passenger Carrying Capacity 267664 267664 267664 267665 239693 239693 210672 210672

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

Comparative scenario between passenger carried and carrying capacity

Fig 05: Comparative scenario between passenger carried and carrying capacity.

2.7.4 Year wise no. of Vessels

Table 06: Year wise no. of Vessels

Year 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99
No. of Vessel Private 4189 4320 4386 4534 4691 4835 4898
Public 344 302 286 276 272 265 257
Total 4533 4622 4671 4810 4963 5100 5155

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

Fig 06: Private and public vessels

2.7.5 Number of vessels

Table 07: Number of Vessels

Type Number
Registered Mechanized Vessels 4372
Registered Non- Mechanized Vessels 783

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

Fig 07: Mechanized and Non-Mechanized vessels.

2.7.6 Water Transport Statistics

Table 08: Water Transport Statistics


Country boats

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00
Motorized (‘000’ nos) 64 64 65 65 65
Passenger (‘000’ nos) 152 142 131 135 138
Cargo (‘000’ nos) 52 76 71 73 74

Source: Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh 2000, 21st Edition.

2.7.7 No. of Launch operator

Table 09: No. of Launch operator

Year 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-98
No. of Launch Operators 589 592 643 591 531 536 536

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

2.7.8 No. of Launch Routes and ghat

Table 10: No. of launch Routes and ghat

Year 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-98
No. of Launch route 214 223 240 225 227 230
No. of Launchghat 1304 1310 1317 1320 1325 1330

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

2.7.9 Passenger’s fares freight rates

The following passengers’ fares have been fixed from the dates the dates shown against each for single journey by motor lunch services and service maintained by steamers.

Motor lunch passenger services maintained by private sector operators. The following fares are effective from 06.10.90.

Table 11: Fare rate per kilometer

Type Rate
Deck class Flat rate chargeable Tk. 0.75 per passenger per km. up to 100 km, Tk.68 per passenger km. after 100 km.
Minimum fare chargeable Tk. 5.00 pe passenger
Upper class 1st class cabin of double decker vessels Tk. 1.80 per passenger per Km.
1st class cabin of double decker not categorized facilities Tk. 1.35 per passenger per km.
2nd class cabin of double decker and upper class of single decker Tk. 1.35 per passenger per km.
Inter class of all double decker vessels & upper class decker Tk. .67 per passenger per km.

Source: Annual Ports and Traffic Report 1998-99, BIWTA.

2.7.10 Value added of transport sector

Table 12: Summary of Value Added of Transport Sector at Current Price

Item 195-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00
Current Prices Million Taka
1.0 Land Transport

1.1 Bangladesh Railway

1.2 Mechanized Road Transport

1.3 Non-Mechanizes Road Transport





















2.0 Water Transport

2.1 Mechanized Water Transport

2.2 Non-Mechanized Water Transport
















3.0 Air Transport 2496 2393 2797 3201 3731

Source: Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh 2000, 21st Edition.

Comparative scenario of value added of Transport sector

Fig 08: Value added of Transport sector.

2.8 The River

In Bangladesh most of the enormous rivers delta where the three big rivers Ganges, Bramaputra and Meghna with all their tributaries meet before flowing out into the Bay of Bengal. It is therefore easy to understand that this network of river serves as the most important transport system in the country. Within the 143998 square kilometer of Bangladesh there are approximately 5968 kilometer navigable rivers in the monsoon season. Shrinking is to approximately 3600 kilometer in the dry season.

Comparative scenario of navigable water ways in Bangladesh in dry and rainy season

Fig 09: Navigable water ways in Bangladesh.

2.9 Weather condition

Due to its location in the topical belt, there are two distinct seasons in Bangladesh, the monsoon or the wet season from June to early October and the dry season from Mid-November to the end of March. The tidal bores and Cyclone mostly occur in the short periods between the two seasons. Cargo handling under such climatic conditions is often hampered and required particular attention.

2.10 Navigation

The biggest problem for river navigation as well as for any port operation in Bangladesh is

changing of river banks and silted erosion in the existing river beds. For instance within

the span of 300 years, the river bed Brahamaputra river has shifted more than 97 kilometer from the north of Dhaka to the south west of the city. However, the navigable routes are classed according to the draught allowed for vessels navigating the routes usually 3.6 meters, 1.8 meters and 0.9 meter. The title variations are quite big at the lower of the river which is generally encountered up to 6.1 meters in the costal areas.

2.11 Standard of water transport vessels

The inland fleet is subdivided into the dump fleet and the self-propelled vessels. The dump fleets are two types- towing vessels and dump vessels, and vessels are Cargo vessels and passenger vessels. They have also some standard according to their dimensions.

Some important standard dimensions of the vehicles on the waterways are as follows:

Table 13: Representative dimensions of the vessels

Steam Steam Diesel Steam Diesel




Over keel





6 ft


60 ft





























Source: Inventorization of the Waterways.

Table 14: Representative dimensions of flats

Flats Inland Sea-going
Prevailing type Largest type



Headway Over keel






750 tons















Source: Inventorization of the Waterways.

Table 15: Representative dimensions of Barges

Barges Inland Sea-going
Prevailing largest type Pusher barges




over keel





100 tons






220 tons















Source: Inventorization of the Waterways.

Table 16: Representative dimensions of cargo vessels

Draught in ft Length in ft Breadth

in ft


over keel in ft

Cargo capacity in tons Engine horse power
Inland Cargosteamer

Pass/ cargo


Cargo launch

Steel hull

























Seagoing Coastal















Table 17: Representative dimensions of passengers vessels

Draught in ft Length in ft Breadth

in ft


over keel in ft

Passenger capacity Engine horse power
Inland Steamer





















Seagoing Z-class












900 BHP

600 BHP

Source: Inventorization of the Waterways.

From this discussion it should be necessary that in case of water transport system every type of vessels must be properly designed and their way also be planned wise.

2.12 Fifth Five Year Plan (1997-2002)

2.12.1 Strategies for Water Transportation

The strategies to be pursued during the Fifth Plan are as follows:

Ø Completion of spill-over projects on priority basis and utilization of existing assets.

Ø Development of necessary dredging capabilities, both for ‘maintenance’ and ‘capita’ dredging.

Ø Promotion of mechanization of country basis by providing technical support and credit facilities.

Ø Development of inland container river ports with back-up facilities.

Ø Operation of services in public sector only in those locations where private sector is not interested.

Ø Development of modern ‘ship-to-ship’ and shore-to ship’ container handling equipment in ports.

Ø Development of appropriate regulatory framework and incentive package for increased participation of the private sector in port development activities establishment of container terminal and ferry services and procurement of container feeder vessels and mother tanker.

Ø Reduction of dwell time of ships in ports by increasing the terminal facilities.

Ø Organizing adequate training for increasing operational efficiency and development institutional capability by keeping safety and pollution free waterways.

Ø Development of training facilities for cadets, seamen, IWT crews in the existing academy and training institutes.

2.12.2 Programs for Water Transportation

The sub-sectional investment programs are as follows:

Ø Development of inland waterways by dredging and establishment of launch landing stations, ferry ghats, inland river ports or container ports.

Ø Procurement or construction of inland and costal passenger vessels, container vessels, floating dock, dredgers and sea trucks, tugs and rehabilitation of passengers vessels 4 Landing Craft Types (LCT) vessels and ferries.

Ø Expansion of 2 container terminal and bunkering facilities and procurement of container handling equipment including gantry cranes high powered tugs.

Ø Undertaking programs for the dredging of the Passer channel, replacement of cargo or container handling equipment, construction of multipurpose berth with back-up facilities and light mover and procurement and installation of beacon signaling devices at fairway buoy at Mongla port.

Ø Development of facilities to handle containers from 290330 TEUs capacity in 1996-97 to 522547 TEUs in 2000.

2.12.3 Private Sector Participation

Private sector participation will be encouraged in the following areas:

Ø Construction and operation of container terminal as well as bulk, break-bulk, multipurpose berth and specialized cargo berths out side the port protected area;

Ø Creation of container freight service (CFS) and inland containers depots (ICD) facilities, inland river ports, container ports/transshipments port;

Ø Designing of equipments for port handling, etc;

Ø Transportation of containers from sea ports to Dhaka ICD;

Ø Increased operation of ocean-going vessels and Increased involvement in the areas of inland dredging operation, maintenance of ferry ghats and development of rural launch landing ghat.

2.12.4 Financial Outlay

The financial outlay in the fifth plan for the public and private sectors is given below:

a) Public sector outlay

At 1996/97 prices, a total of Tk. 13,550 million has been earmarked for the shipping sub-sector during the Fifth Plan. Out of this financial outlay, Tk. 9,750 million will be spent for completion of the on-going projects and Tk. 3,800 mllion for taking up new projects. The program-wise break-down of the public sector outlay in the Fifth Plan is shown in Table 18.

Table 18: Public Sector Outlay for Water Transport during Fifth Plan (at 1996/97 prices)

Programs/Projects Financial Outlay
On-going Projects New Projects Total
Development of inland waterways 500.00 100.00 600.00
Inland river/Container ports 2,500.00 500.00 3,000.00
Development of launch landing system 350.00 450.00 800.00
Acquisition of new dredgers (for IWTA/Mongla port) 600.00 600.00 1,200.00
Procurement of Ro-Ro Ferries/Costal Passenger vessels (for BIWTA/BSC) 850.00 850.00 1,700.00
Rehabilitation of selected vessels (of BSC/BIWTC) 400.00 400.00
Construction of Container Terminal (for Chittagong port) 4,000.00 4,000.00
Replacement of container/cargo handling equipment (for Chittagong and Mongla ports) 1,000.00 1,000.00
Maintenance dredging at Mongla 300.00 100.00 400.00
Other infrastructural development 250.00 200.00 450.00
Total 9,750.00 3,800.00 13,550.00

Source: Fifth Five Year Plan (1997-2002)

b) Private sector outlay

An amount of Tk. 35,000 million is expected to be invested in the private sector particularly in the field of procuring ocean going vessels and river craft, establishing container depot, container ports/transshipments port, cargo jetties in two ports along with container handling equipments etc. Foreign direct investment will be encouraged to come in as joint venture with local entrepreneurs and participate in development of these facilities and transportation.

3.0 Problems and Possible Solutions

Water transportation acts as an important transportation route from the very past. It has some characteristics such as government took responsibility of improvement and maintenance, waterways as public transport, classes of operation, free use, cheap transportation, slowness, passenger facilities etc which are responsible for various advantages of waterways. It’s true that it helps to improve the economical, social and political conditions but there has some problems, which couldn’t be possible to overcome still now. Here water transportation problems are divided into five categories for analysis opportunity. The problems are described below:

Problems Of Water Transportation:

3.1.1 Physical Problems

v Slowness: The speed of water transport is slow in compare with motor or rail transport. Speed is also decreased for hostile wind or tide of the river. In the other hand it takes enough time to load and unload goods, to get in and get down of the passenger in different inland port so that it is not dependable way for quick journey.

v Circuitous routes: In water transportation, the transports have to travel a lot of circular routes, which increases the distance among the ports. Another thing is that they have to careful about sand-bed, stone, hills, algae etc for preventing accidents. These things are also responsible for circuit way.

v Configuration of soil is a hindrance: Hilly rivers are totally non-navigable and risky for water transportation because of obstacle elements such as waterfall, iceberg etc. Beside of this frosty climate of hilly region also creates risky situation in water transportation.

v Inclement weather: Natural calamities such as storm, cyclone, hurricane, frost etc creates a great impact on water transportation. Shipwreck, sinking of boats etc occurs in this foul weather, which damages property and causes loss of life.

v Seasonal character of service: The character of water transportation is changed in different season. In the rainy season the transportation flow is smooth and minimizes the distance of destination. But in winter season the water level falls at a highest rate which causes the travel discontinued.

v Interruption of service due to floods: Flood causes various damages and disasters and flooded area have some obstacles too. The city, ports, villages etc goes under water during flood and fill up the riverbeds with silt. Moreover water transport is risky and non-navigable in flooded area.

v Navigability: Navigation is an important factor for any water related transportation. If the river loss its navigability the port as well as the water transports loss its functions. So if the waterway loss its navigability it becomes a great problem. The Brahmaputra River at some places has dried which is hampering the boat movement from Roumari and Rajibpur upazilas to Kurigram there by causing sufferings to the passengers. Although the Brahmaputra River dried up in some parts every year but this year the position has taken a serious turn. The passenger and goods carrying boats coming from Gaibandha and chili Mari to Raumari are suffering. In the waterway of Isamoti River Salayzza, Kollayl and Bhangavita area the river is dried off. So people face serious problem and engine boat wait for flow tide for their movement. As a result businessman and other people need extra money for their movement on the river way. (Source: The Daily Star, 3rd April, 2004)

v Insufficient port: Ports are inadequate which is an important problem. The total waterway can’t be utilized properly for insufficient port. Transport loading and unloading time of ferry service in Aricha and Natakhola is much time consuming lack of sufficient ferry ghat. As there is no extra space in ghat of Aricha and Natakhola, the transports have to be requiring more than one hour. As a result, the price of goods is in increasing to arrive late of goods carrying trucks. (26th December 1999)

v Overall situation of water transport: The overall inland water transport situation is worst. Most of the transports are backdated, lower quality and unfit to use. So in most cases those become unsafe, unhealthy and worst in condition. They take passengers more than their capacity and causes accidents.

Table 19: Accident of Inland Ships during 1976-2002

Year No. of Accidents No. Of Death No. Of injured No. of missing
1976-89 84 913 30
1990 13 168
1991 11 19 3
1992 17 5 3
1993 24 183 24
1994 27 303 20
1995 19 40 79 60
1996 20 147 5 47
1997 11 102 36 2
1998 10 91 91 58
1999 6 104 11
2000 9 353 50 50
2001 17 33 3 13
2002 17 297 11

Source: BIWTA yearbook.

v Unav