Government Policy

ICD revolution takes country by storm

Over the last decade or so a silent revolution in the internal container terminal depot (ICD) business has occurred in the country.

Backed by a boom in international trade that registered double digit growth the need for its transportation also sprang up.

Spurred by an enabling policy about 25 ICDs have started operating, mostly in and around the port city of Chittagong. But Dhaka is also playing catch up. Buoyed by the success of the Chittagong ICDs, a number of ICD projects are awaiting to come online, in and around Dhaka.

The most potential ICD seems to be the Summit Alliance ICD at Mukhtarpur on the River Meghna. With deep sea draft the port holds the potential of doing without lighter age.

Besides, it is on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway and is also accessible from Sylhet, as well. But the others - three-on the River Sitalakhya, near the state-owned Pangaon ICD, are also fast approaching completion.

The assumption is that straddled on the Dhaka-Mawa Highway and proximity to Dhaka, they, too will be money spinners and be a major breakthrough in the nation's trade lifeline.

As of now, "Total" ICD, based in Bhatiari, takes the lion's share of the export trade, informed Alok Chowdhury, a leading apparel exporter.

Evidently, the others are also doing good business, otherwise there would be no demand for new enterprise, insiders say.

"Many of them are joint ventures bringing in scarce capital and even more scarce state-of-the-art technology to the country's booming maritime business," another apparel expert, Mohammad Elias, a former CEO of the Korean Chaebol Doosan (Bangladesh) told BSS.

"Our infrastructure is gearing up for large-scale manufacturing but that will mean more investments in infrastructure," he said.

"Traditional infrastructure was good enough for SMEs but to make a dent on poverty and compete, globally, Bangladesh needs to upgrade its infrastructure," he explained.

"Things are moving fast, "Kamrul Islam Siddiqui, a senior banker, working for EBL told BSS." The change is stupendous and the financial sector needs better expertise and depth to cope with it," he said.

"Hopefully, we will attain it soon but we need the variety of facial products including venture capital funds for that," he added.

"Many innovative ventures are drying up because of inadequate institutional support. As soon as we have it, the economy will be globally competitive," he added.

"90 per cent of new ventures dry up, particularly in the SME sector which also employs 90 per cent of the work force, "Kamrul said.

"It holds the key to poverty reduction and high trajectory growth," he summed up.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)