Bangladesh has developed a transport network that includes roads, railways, inland waterways, two maritime ports and civil airports catering to both domestic and international traffic. Road transport has traditionally been the center of the government’s attention in this sector.
It is the fastest growing mode, with an average annual growth of 8% for passenger and 9% for freight since 1990s. Roads account for around 80% of passenger and freight movement. The road network consists of four broad categories. National highways connect the national capital with divisional headquarters. Ports and international and regional highways form a five-way regional corridor (Dhaka-Chittagong; Dhaka-northwest; Dhaka-Khulna; Dhaka-Sylhet and Khulna-northwest), which represent 3 and 2% of all road length respectively. Feeder roads connect Upazila headquarter and growth centers with arterial road system and represent 34% of the total road network. Rural roads represent the largest part of the Bangladesh road system, constituting 61% of the total road network. Roads & Highway under the Ministry of Communications looks after national, regional and some of feeder roads whereas major feeder roads and rural roads are looked after by LGED under the Ministry of Local Government Rural Development and Cooperatives.
The government’s transport strategy aims to support economic development by expanding linkages in the internal transport system and promote local market integration, especially in rural areas. There is sizable public investment (through development budget, ADP and revenue budget) in road construction (1.8% of GDP).
Bangladesh today has an extensive road network (2.4 lac kilometers) surpassing other South Asian countries in total road density. An extensive rural road network has contributed greatly to economic growth and poverty reduction. The inland waterway system, which carries large volumes of the nation’s freight, is not used to its full potential due to silting waterways, lack of ghat berthing facilities and obstruction caused by low or narrow road bridges and irrigation channel sluice gates. The government has given highest priority to dredging for inland waterway system development.
Bangladesh Railway (BR) has a total of 2,885 route-km railway lines consisting of three different gauges. The Medium Gauge (MG) (1000 km) and Broad Gauge (BG) (1676 km) systems have been in use since the beginning, but Dual Gauge (DG) which is a mix of MG and BG, the system was introduced in 2001. Railway networks need multi-modal integration with road and inland water transport systems as well as improved infrastructure facilities to be able to carry more traffic efficiently. The potential of the railway in Bangladesh needs to be unlocked through planned investment in track, signaling, rolling stock, maintenance and human resources.
Bangladesh’s transport and logistics sectors offer immense opportunities for investors, as the country is found most wanting in the area. Given the country’s growth forecasts, there is huge scope for investments in infrastructure. The private sector, is ready to invest, in Bangladesh’s transport infrastructure and trade logistics, towards Bangladesh’s growth as the next Asian Tiger. Currently, about 1,000 local and 20 international logistics and freight forwarding companies are providing necessary support to the export and import sector in Bangladesh. The country imported goods worth about $52.84 billion in fiscal 2017-18 and exported products worth about $36.67 billion, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank. The total business roughly reached $1.5 billion in 2017. The industry has grown amidst the absence of quality infrastructure and use of substandard equipment for the last 30 years.
The tourism industry is closely related with the transport industry. Total contribution of the tourism sector to GDP is approximately around 4.3 per cent of GDP and was expected to rise to 4.35 per cent in 2017. Not only did it contribute to GDP, but this industry has also impacted employment, both directly and indirectly. Approximately 2.19 million jobs were created in the in this sector during 2016.
Martial Transport and Logistic Services Ltd (MTLS) has made an agreement on 02 August, 2018 with the Army Welfare Trust (আর্মি ওয়েলফেয়ার ট্রাস্ট (এডব্লিউটি), প্রযত্নেঃ সেনাসদর, এজি’র শাখা, কল্যাণ ও পুনর্বাসন পরিদপ্তর, ঢাকা সেনানিবাস) regarding operation of AC, Non-AC buses and cargo services within the inter-cantonment routes, cantonment connected nearby cities and all regional cantonments and other areas the country. In addition, MTLS will also provide tourism services for the army members and their families and civilians as well.
This project will connect all cantonments, regional cantonments, cantonments connected nearby cities and Dhaka cities. The total number of vehicles including Double Decker AC Bus, Double Decker AC Bus (High-Deck), Comfort, Luxury & Standard AC Bus for Inter & Regional Cantonment, City Services and for tourism purposes, Super Luxurious AC Bus, Trucks, Covered Van & Minibuses would be 842 with different seats capacity.
For connecting the country, total 41 routes have been planned and designed for serving the people of the country.
For serving the country, MTSL will develop infrastructure facilities including Food Court, Restaurants & Hotel Facilities, Convenience Store and others. The total infrastructure includes 27 terminals, 82 passenger lounges, 72 food courts & 9 fuel stations have been designed for this project.
In this project, there will be world-class facilities which will include highly trained & experienced staffs and drivers, travel cards, mobile apps (android & IOS app), GPRS & internet facilities, high security & surveillance, membership cards etc.
All the staffs & drivers of the vehicles will be highly trained & experienced and each vehicle will be monitored from the head office of MTLS by sophisticated surveillance system. As this project is associated with Bangladesh Army Welfare Trust of Bangladesh Army, society people will get confidence to travel comfortably and safely with MTLS.
PROPOSED ROUTES PLAN OF THE PROJECT
For Passenger Bus Services:
In this project, there will be total 40 routes for bus services for connection of all cantonment, cantonment connected nearby cities and Dhaka city.
The total number of buses will be 353 buses in 40 routes. There will be AC double decker and luxurious AC buses with different seat capacities.
All the buses will be imported from Europe and Asia. The brands include Scania, MAN, Volvo, Mercedes Benz and Güleryüz.
Summary of the bus service routes and number of buses at different phases are illustrated in the beside table.
MTLS will also provide courier and cargo services. The destinations include Dhaka to Chattagram, Dhaka to Sylhet, Dhaka to Mymensingh, Dhaka to Ghatail, Dhaka to Jamuna Cantt, Dhaka to Bogura, Dhaka to Saidpur, Dhaka to Rangpur, Dhaka to Kholahati, Dhaka to Qadirabad Cantonment, Dhaka to Rajshahi, Dhaka to Jashore & Dhaka to Khulna, Dhaka to Lebukhali- Barishal and Dhaka to Padma Bridge in different phases. In this project, there will be total 15 routes for courier and cargo services and the total number of trucks and covered vans will be 400 in 15 routes.
The project also has tourism services which includes various facilities for the tourists such as AC bus, boats, local transport, all sightseeing, toll & entry fees as per mentioned itinerary and all meals as per itinerary (breakfast, lunch & dinner).
There will be various destinations for tourism services which include Dhaka to Bandarban, Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka to Sylhet, Dhaka to Rangamati, Dhaka to Bandarban to Nilgiri, Dhaka to Khagrachari to Sajek, Dhaka to Jashore, Dhaka to Khulna and Dhaka to Lebukhali- Barishal. In this project, there will be total 10 routes for tourism services and the total number of tourist buses will be 100 in 10 routes.