f Water Transport Bangladesh

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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: Transportation Transportation System System Land Land Transport Transport

Water Water Transport Transport Inland Inland

Highway Highway

Railway Railway

Air Air Transport Transport Costal Costal Domestic Domestic

International International

Fig 01: Classification of transportation system.

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 (700 Rivers) (ii) Navigable Waterways


14000 km.


5968 km. (Rainy season) 3600 km. (Dry season) 11 (Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chandpur, Barisal, Khulna, Patuakhali, Baghabari, Aricha, Nagarbari, Daulatdia & Narsingdi) 23

(iii) No. of Inland River ports


(iv) No. of Coastal Island Ports (Developed by BIWTA) (v) No. of Ferry ghats

: :

(vi) No. of Launchghats : (vii) No. of Launchghats : (Developed by BIWTA) (viii) No. of Passenger vessels : Routes (ix) No. of Registered : Mechanised Vessels (x) No. of Registered : Non- Mechanised Vessels (xi) No. of Passenger carried : (a) By Motor Launch : (b) By Steamer : (c) By Ferry service : (xii) Quantum of cargo carried : (xiii) Water Route Maintained by BIWTA (a) 12” Draft : (b) 6” Draft : (c) 3” Draft : (d) Less than 3’ draft :

7 (Aricha, Nagarbari, Daulatdia, Bhuapur, Sirajganj, Mawa and Charjanajat) 1330 233 230 4372 783 72.08 Million 65.72 Million 0.97 Million 5.39 Million 5.87 Million (M. Ton) Trunk Route Class-I Transit Route Class-II Secondary Route Class-III Class-IV

683 k.m. 1000 km. 1885 km. 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:  Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA)  Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC)  Chittagong and Mongla Sea-Port  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)

 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.  Disseminate navigational and meteorological information including publishing river charts. Carry out removal of wrecks and obstruction in inland navigable waterways.  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.  Develop, maintain and operate inland river ports, landing ghats and terminal facilities. Approve time tables for passenger services. 

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

 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.  Develop rural water transport by progressing of schemes for modernizing and mechanizing country craft.  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.  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.  Arrange programs of technical training for Inland Water Transport personnel within and outside Bangladesh.  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:  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.

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

Organization Chart


Member Engineering

Member Finance

secretariate deptt.


Director purchase& stores

Planning deptt.

Director planning

Field officers Narayanganj Chattagong

Finance deptt.

Director finance

Field offices: Khulna Chandpur CHITTAGONG

Purchase & stores deptt.

Accounts deptt.

Director accounts

CHANDPURField offices: Barisal Narayanganj Sirajganj Aricha KHULNA CHITTEAGONG DHAKA

Ports & traffic deptt.

Director ports & traffic

Field offices: Dhaka Narayanganj khulna Barishal Chandpur Chittagong PATUAKHALI ARICHA NAGARBARI DAULATDIA BAGHABARI NARSHINDI

Principal dptc centreDecck personel trainning

conservancy & pilotage

Director conservancy & pilotage deptt.

Field offices Barishal Chittagong Sirajganj Aricha Dhaka Narayanganj Khulna Chandpur

Audit deptt.

Director audit

Hydrography deptt

Dredging unit

Field offices: Barisal Narayanganj engineerDeputy chief marine

Director hydrography

BIWTA marine work shop


Field offices: narayan-ganj Mymenshingh Jessore Chanpur Chittagong Barisal

Mechanical & marine engineering deptt.

Chief marine engineer

Field offices Barisal Narayaganj

Engineering deptt.

Chief engineer

Field offices Dhaka Narayanganj Chandpur Sirajanj Aricha Barisal Khulna Patuakali Chittagong

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 port though 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


The port is situated on the bank of the river Jamuna. 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 river Jamuna. 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 river Jamuna. 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 Dhaka

District under that zone Dhaka, Mymensing, Gazipur, Tangail and part

Narayangonj Barisal

of Jamalpur Comilla, Narayngonj and part of Brahmanbaria Faridpur, Bakerganj, Patuakali, Barguna, Jhalkhati, Bhola, Pirojpur and western half of


Laxmipur. Khulna, Jessore, Kushtia, Gopalganj, Bagerhat,

Northern (Sirajgonj)

Shatkhira, magura, Jenidha and Narail. Dinajpur, Rangpur, Bagura, Rajshahi, Pabna,


Tangail, Jamalpur, and Siranganj Sylehet, Sunamganj, Hobiganj, maulavibazar, Netrokona and Gratter part of Kishorgonj and


remaining half Brahmanbaria Chittagong, Rangamati Hil Tracts, Bandarban hill tracts, Khagrachari hill tracts and remanig half of Noakhali.

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

Sripur (14) (14) Sripur

Barisal Barisal

Khulna Khulna

Bera // Sirajganj Sirajganj Bera Savar (5) (5) Savar Lukia Lukia Narsingdi/Gokarnaghat (6) (6) Narsingdi/Gokarnaghat Daudkandi/Machuakhal (7) (7) Daudkandi/Machuakhal

Patuakhali (16) (16) Patuakhali

khepupara khepupara

Kaukhalu (17) (17) Kaukhalu

Snkarkati Snkarkati

Goalundo Goalundo

Bandura (4) (4) Bandura

Madaripur Madaripur

Amtali Amtali

Naldi Naldi

Gazirhat // Tona Tona (11) (11) Gazirhat

Madaripur Madaripur

Dubaldia Dubaldia

Lohajang (3) (3) Lohajang

Narayanganj Narayanganj

Mirzazagang Mirzazagang

Patuakhali (15) (15) Patuakhali

Char Biswas Biswas Char

Manikdaha (10) (10) Manikdaha

Ellar Char Char // Pratapnagar Pratapnagar Ellar

Mongla (9) (9) Mongla

Sripur (13) (13) Sripur

Kalaya Kalaya

Lohajang (2) (2) Lohajang

Kurikhania Kurikhania

Patharghata Patharghata Tepakhola Tepakhola

Chandpur (1) (1) Chandpur

Mongla (8) (8) Mongla

Inland Inland Water Water Routes Routes

Jhalkati (12) (12) Jhalkati

2.6 Major Routes of the Inland Waterways

The major Routes of the Inland Waterways have denoted below:

Gharisar (19) (19) Gharisar

Dhaki (21) (21) Dhaki

Dilapur (20) (20) Dilapur

Chandpur Chandpur

Nalmuri Nalmuri

Nandir Bazar Bazar // Hizla-Bazar(18) Hizla-Bazar(18) Nandir

Fenchuganj Fenchuganj

Inland Inland Water Water Routes Routes

Bhairab Bhairab Bazar Bazar

Chatak Chatak

Sachna(22) Sachna(22)

Goalundo Goalundo

Kustia Kustia (23) (23)

Kustia Kustia

Kamarkhali(24) Kamarkhali(24)

Bagerhat Bagerhat Chittagong Chittagong Kaptai Kaptai

Kamarkhali Kamarkhali (25) (25)

Char Char Duani Duani

Kaptai Kaptai (26) (26) Rangamati Rangamati (27) (27)

Fig 03: Major Routes of the Inland Waterways Chilmari (28)

Sirajanj Sirajanj

Mohanganj Mohanganj

Chilmari (28)

Marisha Marisha

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

Secretariat Ports & Traffic Department Engineering Department Purchase & Stores Department Planning Department Dredging Unit Hydrography Department Mechanical & Marine Engineering Department Deck Personnel Training Centre Accounting Department Finance Department Audit Department Barishal Marine Workshop Conservancy & Pilotage Department Total

Officer Sanctio ned Posts 30 76

Existin Vaca g Post nt Posts 24 6 52 24




Staff Sanction ed Posts 181 599

Existi ng Post 151 482

Vaca nt Posts 30 117







16 44 96

12 35 66

4 9 30




Total Sanction ed Posts 211 675

Existi ng Post 175 534

Vaca nt Posts 36 141










19 63 163

16 44 136

03 19 27

35 107 259

28 79 202

07 28 57

























31 13 28

17 8 8

14 5 20

49 13 386

40 11 135

09 02 251

80 26 414

57 19 143

23 07 271



















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


199293 1657.5 1

Revent Earning (Tk. In 00000)













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 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00

Passenger service (Lakh Tk.) 369 402 473 480 455

Ferry service (Lakh Tk). 6130 7494 8019 6229 6303

Cargo service (Lakh Tk.) 612 398 210 326 371

Total (Lakh Tk.) 7111 8294 8702 7035 7129

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

2.7.3 Carrying Condition Table 05: Year Wise Carrying Condition Year Cargo Carried in 00000 MT Passenger Carried in 00000NoS. Passenger Carrying Capacity

Private Public Total Private Public Total 267664

1992-93 43.57 2.42 45.99 426.18 68.70 494.86 267664

1993-94 46.82 2.55 49.37 578.26 84.60 662.86 267664

1994-95 49.46 2.08 51.54 571.00 97.80 668.80 267665

1995-96 54.98 1.93 56.91 581.70 95.50 677.20 239693

1996-97 58.08 1.26 59.34 671.50 120.90 792.40 239693

1997-98 54.95 0.90 55.85 760.30 117.70 878.00 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.

1998-99 57.68 1.05 58.73

720.80 210672


Year wise no. of Vessels Table 06: Year wise no. of Vessels

Year No. of Vessel

Private Public Total

199293 4189 344 4533

199394 4320 302 4622

199495 4386 286 4671

199596 4534 276 4810

199697 4691 272 4963

199798 4835 265 5100

199899 4898 257 5155

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

Fig 06: Private and public vessels


Number of vessels Table 07: Number of Vessels

Type Registered Mechanized Vessels Registered Non- Mechanized Vessels

Number 4372 783

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

Fig 07: Mechanized and Non-Mechanized vessels.


Water Transport Statistics Table 08: Water Transport Statistics

Year Country boats Motorized (‘000’ nos) Passenger (‘000’ nos) Cargo (‘000’ nos)

1995-96 64 152 52

1996-97 64 142 76

1997-98 65 131 71

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

1998-99 65 135 73

1999-00 65 138 74

2.7.7 No. of Launch operator Table 09: No. of Launch operator

Year 1992-93 No. of 589 Launch Operators

1993-94 592

1994-95 643

1995-96 591

1996-97 531

1997-98 536

1998-98 536

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


No. of Launch Routes and ghat Table 10: No. of launch Routes and ghat

Year No. of Launch route No. of Launchghat

1993-94 1994-95 214 223

1995-96 240

1996-97 225

1997-98 1998-98 227 230







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 Deck class

Upper class

Rate 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 st 1 class cabin of double decker Tk. 1.80 per passenger per Km. vessels 1st class cabin of double decker not Tk. 1.35 per passenger per km. categorized facilities 2nd class cabin of double decker and Tk. 1.35 per passenger per km. upper class of single decker Inter class of all double decker Tk. .67 per passenger per km. vessels & upper class decker

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 Current Prices 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



102757 2492 60875 39391 22825 14022 8803 2496

110496 2413 65977 42106 23102 14760 8342 2393

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

1997-98 1998-99 Million Taka 120237 130832 2580 2650 72660 79901 44997 48281 23263 24035 15394 15816 7869 8219 2797 3201

1999-00 144626 2769 90008 51849 24903 16364 8539 3731

(Million Tk.)

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.

Distance (Km)

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 MidNovember 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


Draught length Breath Headway Over keel Engine Horse-power Number

Steam Paddle 6 ft 237ft 60 ft

Steam Screw 6ft 105ft 26ft




5.5ft 102ft 26ft

7.2ft 135ft 27ft

8ft 85ft 24.5ft






120NHP 11

45NHP 24

600NHP 44

143NHP 3

320BHP 4

Source: Inventorization of the Waterways.

Table 14: Representative dimensions of flats

Flats Draught length Breath Headway Over keel Horse-power Number

Inland Prevailing type 6ft 220ft 32ft 750 tons 34ft 54

Sea-going Largest type 7ft 240ft 35ft 880tons 36ft 32

7ft 195ft 30ft 550tons 32ft 11

Source: Inventorization of the Waterways.

Table 15: Representative dimensions of Barges

Barges Draught length Breath Headway over keel Number

Inland Prevailing 6ft 75ft 18ft 100 tons 13ft 212

Source: Inventorization of the Waterways.

Sea-going largest type 6.5ft 100ft 19ft 220 tons 14ft 18

Pusher barges 6ft 100ft 26ft 266tons Âą13ft 27

5.7ft 104ft 29ft 300tons 15ft 28

Table 16: Representative dimensions of cargo vessels


Cargosteamer Pass/ cargo Launch Cargo launch Steel hull

Seagoing Coastal Vessel Tankers

Draught Length in ft in ft

Breadt h in ft




Headwa Cargo Engine y capacity horse over keel in tons power in ft 41 400 120NHP

3 4.5 6

60 80 125

19 24 24

19 23 32

35 80 200

110BHP 200BHP 300BHP

12 11

174 208

28 36

57 73

700 1000

850BHP 1100BHP

Table 17: Representative dimensions of passengers vessels

Draught in ft



Steamer Singledecker Doubledecker Z-class L.C.T

Lengt h in ft

Breadt h in ft 59 20 25

Headwa y over keel in ft 45.5 20 30

6.0 3 4.5

235 60 100

7.5 4.5

194 125

Passeng Engine er horse capacity power 1250 150 500

110NHP 165BHP 300BHP

34 27

67 36

272 200

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:  Completion of spill-over projects on priority basis and utilization of existing assets.  Development of necessary dredging capabilities, both for ‘maintenance’ and ‘capita’ dredging.  Promotion of mechanization of country basis by providing technical support and credit facilities.  Development of inland container river ports with back-up facilities.  Operation of services in public sector only in those locations where private sector is not interested.

 Development of modern ‘ship-to-ship’ and shore-to ship’ container handling equipment in ports.  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.  Reduction of dwell time of ships in ports by increasing the terminal facilities.  Organizing








development institutional capability by keeping safety and pollution free waterways.  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:  Development of inland waterways by dredging and establishment of launch landing stations, ferry ghats, inland river ports or container ports.  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.  Expansion of 2 container terminal and bunkering facilities and procurement of container handling equipment including gantry cranes high powered tugs.  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.  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:  Construction and operation of container terminal as well as bulk, break-bulk, multipurpose berth and specialized cargo berths out side the port protected area;  Creation of container freight service (CFS) and inland containers depots (ICD) facilities, inland river ports, container ports/transshipments port;  Designing of equipments for port handling, etc;

ďƒ˜ Transportation of containers from sea ports to Dhaka ICD; ďƒ˜ 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 subsector 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)


Financial Outlay On-going New Total Projects Projects 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 600.00 600.00 1,200.00 port) Procurement of Ro-Ro Ferries/Costal Passenger 850.00 850.00 1,700.00 vessels (for BIWTA/BSC) Rehabilitation of selected vessels (of BSC/BIWTC) 400.00 -400.00 Construction of Container Terminal (for Chittagong 4,000.00 -4,000.00 port) Replacement of container/cargo handling -1,000.00 1,000.00 equipment (for Chittagong and Mongla ports) 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: Physical Problems Policy oriented Problems Disadvantages of conference system Ownership Problem Port Problems

3.1.1 Physical Problems  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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)  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)  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 1976-89 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

No. of Accidents 84 13 11 17 24 27 19 20 11 10 6 9 17 17

No. Of Death

No. Of injured

No. of missing

913 168 19 5 183 303 40 147 102 91 104 353 33 297

30 3 3 24 20 79 5 36 91 50 3 11

60 47 2 58 11 50 13 -

Source: BIWTA yearbook.

 Unavailability of transport tools for making transport: Another problem is unavailability and inadequacy of tools and accessories for making transport such as woods, irons etc.  Insufficient warning of weather condition: Weather signals are not good enough to control movement during inclement weather.  Absence of adequate dragger: Dragger is inadequate in number and to fulfill the demand the authority have to rent the dragger. The six among seven dredgers have serviced at Aricha, Natakhola and Dulatdia of dredging unit. It is very difficult to continue navigability in Padma and Jamuna through 22 year’s old defaulted dredgers. (26th December, 2000)  Political domination: Water transport influences the political domination, which would be negative or positive. If this domination interferes in the internal affair of other countries it threatened the country peace and liberty. British rules India continent 200 years and water transportation was the beginning of their coming to this region. 3.1.2 Possible Solutions

Water transportation is the cheapest travel option. It has no permanent expenditure. It has many problems as well as many advantages too such as;  It can be used freely.  It has less motive power.  Large carrying capacity.  It causes the development of trade and commerce.  Consumption of foreign goods.  It causes the economic progress.  It creates the economic and geographic intercourse.  It helps in cultural exchange. The preferable solution would to maximizing the advantage options of water

transportation and minimizing the disadvantages. 

The most convenient way for economically improvement in Bangladesh water transportation system is to maintain and develop of waterways. The rivers which losses its depth or dried off should dragged and maintained properly. The maintenance and construction cost is comparatively low from others. The waterways should extend so as it can properly utilize in equally distributed motorized water transports and country boats. These fulfill some purpose such as; employment, development of trading, commercialization of agricultural goods.

Expansion, modernization and development of facilities for making and repairing of inland water transport are necessary. Existing factories are of lower quality with inadequate modern machineries and skilled labor.

Fast moving transport can be introduced in different districts with reasonable cost. The success of this depends on government help with proper coordination.

Huge programs should take to make the country boat into mechanical order.

Cement, concrete and fiberglass can be used to make country boats through some pilot project.

The number of transports should be made to fulfill the need of passengers as well as carrying goods.

Major ports and second-class inland ports should be developed.

The reclamation is needed of waterways and water transport.

There should make facilities on the place where the passengers get in and get down from the water vehicles.

There should establish adequate number of scientific weather forecasting office to get immediate news of weather condition for security from storm, cyclone and other kinds of natural calamities.

Provision of duty-free or low duty import of engines and spares for mechanization of country boat should be made.

3.2.1 Policy oriented problems  Economic problem is the most important in policy-oriented problem of water transportation. The private investment is very low in inland water transportation because of mainly two reasons: Lowest profit rate & Highest tax rate. There are different categories of tax: Rental tax, Tax on goods, license fee, registration fee, tax per tonnage, survey fee, inspection fee etc.  BIWTA tax: Maintenance tax, pilot age tax, canal sub tax, loading and unloading fee, bathing, port tax.  Municipality tax: Municipality revenue and taxes, tax on storage goods, tax on fuel oil and coal.  Inland water transport needs more investments for its transports and accessories. Comparatively railway and roadway needs less than that. Government gives long-term loan with low interest rate in many sectors but inland water transport sector is excluded in that. It demands high making cost and proper maintenance cost which discourage to invest on it  The local investors very small amount to invest. For this reason they also fails to get the necessary bank guarantee which is important factor to get the loan from bank. So the amount of investment is very low in local level.  Different diplomatic causes are not preferable for inland water transport. The regulations, which follow to supply the parts and maintenance accessories, create problems in the case of private investors. Huge goods are imported by railway, which also can be imported through waterway at the same or lower rate, but these possibilities are neglected for the lack of effective policy.  There has imbalance in export and import sector. In Chittagong port the imported goods are imported much more than exported good. There has imbalance between them. But in Mongla port this imbalance of export-import is comparatively less than Chittagong port.  Sometimes water transport system can’t follow the principles of differential charging and the value of service principles. Lacking of policy and proper coordination is

responsible for that. Irregularity of serial, counter raid and useless situation are created in ferry service of Aricha-Natakhola. The political influence is responsible for all of this. It is complained that, arranging serial among the staffs of BIWTC in1 no. counter, they are served eight trucks of goods on ferry through getting bribe per one truck. (8 th December,2000).  Competition in water transportation becomes a policy related problem though the causes are the characteristics of waterway and water transport such as freedom of ocean highway, mobility of ships, small investment, fluctuation in traffic, regulations of rates and fares etc. Some times competent person is deprived from the competition. Movement of ferries between Aricha-Nagerbaria and Aricha-Daulatdia Ghats remained suspended for six hours, as four were stack up at char-land in the midstream of the Jamuna so create problem of vessele management. (17th February 2000) 3.2.2 Possible Solutions 

The importance of water transportation and the importance of inland water transport authority should thoroughly discuss. For thoroughly discussion and to take the responsibility of important matters a separate transport planning group in planning department should establish.

Transport distribution in different transport management should consider the following matters:  Actual expenditure of a ton/mile.  The comparative situation of transport facilities with respect to nature.  To specify the transport with respect to object.  Beginning and end point of the transport.

It is necessary to invest more amount of money in inland water transportation sector. The loan should be provided long term with low interest rate.

To influence the private investors and to figure out the problem of low capital, a equity capital corporation need to be set up. This corporation will take the responsibility of supplying the necessary capital. This matter needs to be well discussed.

Government should take the responsibility of maintenance of waterways.

For the new companies and the extension and modernization of the old companies ‘tax holyday’ concept can be applied.

Companies involved in water transportation have to give many types of taxes. These should be thoroughly discussed and should minimize the number of the taxes. The number of taxes should be same as road and railway.

There has no proper statistics about the characteristics and actual number of country boat. So a detail survey is needed for the mechanical improvement of the country boat. Mechanization is costly so that ‘tug’ can be brought to pull the boat. To make it successful the system of making the boat should be improved and the quality of boat wood should be high in quality.

The capacity of water transport is mostly wasted. A ‘logistic’ office can be placed to minimize this wastage and for the well distribution of the goods into the whole country from port. To prevent the wastage the ‘demurrage’ concept can be applied.

Cooperative society or company can be made by the transport owners to make safe, cheap, high standard and skilled maintenance. These companies should have right of pre-emption for loan.

Laws should be provided for the making of water transport and survey.

There should have a shipyard and a jetty in every port for the proper utilization of water transportation.

Bangladesh will be able to draw on Dutch expertise in the institutional reform of its water sector and the development of a water policy. The Dutch State Secretary Monique de Vries and her Bangladeshi counterpart agreed this recently during a working visit to Bangladesh. Water management has long been an important element of cooperation between the two countries, both of which are confronted by high-water problems, but to date this has been largely confined to technical project assistance. During her visit to Bangladesh the State Secretary offered a three-dimensional model to the Bengali River Research Institute with which the behavior of rivers can be simulated.

The respondents made an insignificant number of trips using water transport, but respondents traveled substantial distances and took considerable time using water transport. Respondents made longer and faster journeys using launches/steamers on river routes, rather than when using country boats on other water routes. Country boats are suitable for making transport efforts, but indiscriminate building of roads, road structures and water control structures have obstructed the movement of country boats and thereby hampered their use and there is a need for a wide analysis of rural transport, taking a more holistic approach, considering both land and water transport networks with a view to solving specific problems.

3.3.1 Disadvantages of conference system

The shipping company and merchants is not only faced benefits but also a group of problems. The problems are discussed below Survival of the strong: Under the conferences system, the shipping company is competed with other shipping companies, which belongs not to this system and the new comer companies cannot be progressed with the combined competition of the shipping company belongs to the conferences system. As a result, these new companies are expelled from the trade of transportation.  Policy against independent shipping: Sometimes the conferences prepare some policy which harmful to the development of the independent international shipping. Long time rabate system is arranged for the merchants to make active co-operation for trading from them and they are obedient to the conferences by getting many facilities. It is engaged the influence of merchants by tricks. But giving such like illegal facilities is forbidden against independent international shipping.  Dual rate system: This system indulges the contrast and the shipping conferences exchange different commodities by different rates. The other companies are not separated from this system. As a result a group of merchants enjoy long time rabate system and suffer the merchants who giving a high rate of commodities.  Lack of standard classification of freights: Though the shipping conferences gain monopolized facilitate in regionalized trade, they cannot be established standard classification freights. The merchants’ can not determined the tax from commodities lack of rate list and standard classification of freights engaging for all sector.  Problems of rabate system: The recently arrived institutions become depressed imposing rabate system by the conference organization. Because regular and smooth water transportation are not secured by this system. In fact, well competition increase perfectness, which is discouraged by the conference organization.  Preferential treatment: The conference organization does not serve the same standard conveniences for all shippers. They prefer to serve those shippers, organization or authority from which facilitate much comparatively. Rail Corporation, government organization, superb company or merchants are the significance examples.  Competition along monopolists: The conferences systems can be regularized or irregularzed. These conferences have been engaged in competition among themselves. As each monopolist enjoys facilities so their competition will be strongly. These spent much in various sectors to influence one another. As a result, it creates harmful competition in economy.

 Elimination of business monopoly: The shipping organizations under the conferences system influence the monopolists and decrease the competition of business. Superb merchants benefited to increase value. On the other hand, it is impossible to hold in business for the small merchants. So, the exiting condition of business becomes too worse. 3.3.2 Possible Solutions 

The survived shipping company may make a chance to the newcomer company. Both the shipping companies can be arranged an agreement where the company under conferences system discharging for open trade of the new comer till a few years.

The shipping conferences have to be restricted of their trade system. Especially in the international shipping, they have to be much careful for their merchants but not giving illegal facilities. Because it creates monopolized economy, which is harmful to international trading system.

There are must be taken a policy which control the rate of commodities and the shipping conferences and other company have to be maintain a registered rules which rate indicating according to the commodities. As a result, it saves the suffering merchants by preventing dual rate system.

Fixed rating list and standard deviation of freights may solve the rating problems. The shipping companies must be co-operated among them to determine tax.

Under the conference system, the shipping organization must be created a chance of recently arrived shipping company by discouraging the rabate system.

Monitoring system of shipping trade is another alternative solution. It takes steps against the preferential treatment, which encourage the recently arrived organization.

The conferences system can change the angle of sight by imposing universal policy between shipping company and merchants.

All members of shipping companies and merchants may make co-operation between themselves. As a result, the small merchants have a chance to hold and extend their trade.

3.4.1 Ownership Problems in Water Transport  Controlling in ownership: The ownership of water transport is divided in government and private. So it is difficult to control the international communication of port because of including two organizations in same sector. It creates inequality to weak owner through strong owner.

 Lack of proper government policy: The private organization cannot be attracted to international transport system because of insufficient government policy. It is filled with risks and limitations.  Competition between private owner and government owner: It is important to take step in same sector of private and government owner. But they engage to competitive in international trade of commodities. Moreover many foreign shipping companies are also included in such competition. So it is seen harmful to the owners of private and government for our country because they not only competitor themselves but also other companies of foreign owners. 3.4.2 Possible Solutions 

There must be create co-operate situation between ownership of government and private sector. Government ownership is wider organized than private ownership. So understanding is another factor to control the trade because both of the sectors are included in the same water transportation system.

Government policy should be perfect for not only government ownership but also private ownership. As a result, the private organization is encouraged in international transport system and the national economy becomes healthier.

Competition is occurred because private owner and government owner want to more facilitate. A contract may be changed the angle of sight, which is imposed policy for all organization. As a result the foreign shipping company is obstructed in the competition of international trade.

3.5.1 Port problems Port is important in trade sector to import and export commodities. It has some problems has been discussed below Storage problems: Sufficient storehouses are needed to maintenance moving commodities from harmful position in the port and terminology. But lack of storehouse is found in every port, landing ghat and terminology. As a result, it is lost the faith lack of reservation of commodities in port.  Problems of salvage unit: The water accident is occurred by flood, heavy rain, cyclone, mist etc every year in our country. For all these occurrences, it cannot create sufficient arrangement to save from accidents in Bangladesh. As a result many lives and a lot of commodities have been being lost.

 Difficulties in wireless communication: Well-organized salvage unit is nit possible to develop lack of wireless communication in inland way. If it is established in every transport, it can be possible to reach news of flow-tide, cyclone to the sailors decreasing such like accidents.  Robbery in waterways: Rubbery is seen occurring in the waterway of our country. As a result the passengers and sender of commodities are felt unsecured. This type rubbery is occurred by lack of police or guard. At present government engages police in waterway.  Absence of government policy: The influence of government or non-government sector is not preferential which being not very distinctly. Moreover the well policies are not established to deliver goods to the inland from port. It is more suitable to carry goods from Chittagong port by using water transport than railway.  Maintenance problem: In Bangladesh, river erosion, trees, buildings are broken every year by the cause of sufficient rain, flood etc. and the water way is filled up of the river. Moreover it is found river carrying sand and silt. Many rivers are changing its way every year. For all these reasons, it is conflicted on the moving way of ship in waterway. There are so many rivers in our country and it is very expensive to dig in such wide river. All these reasons have been shrinking the water way continuously lack of sufficient maintenance.  Traffic congestion: Traffic congestion is regular problem in water transportation in Bangladesh. Traffic jam at Aricha, Daulatdia and Nagarbari ferry ghat remained unchanged as six ferries went out of order and the river erosion continued near Aricha Ghat. BIWTC sources said the traffic congestion was created due to abnormal rise the water level of the Padma, Jamuna and delay in loading and unloading due to 1.5 km erosion at Aricha. (17th Februry, 1999). 3.5.2 Remedial measures (solutions) There are sufficient possibility to extension and development of water transportation in Bangladesh. The possible solutions of water transport problems have been discussed below

Financing: Financing condition is significance for arranging the development and extension of water transport. Sufficient financing is necessary for importance water transport, selling machines, construction of terminal, port or ghat, pontoon, barge,

steamed launch water transport survey, lighting etc. This delivering finance may be gain through foreign debt or government. 

Technical training: To build skilled mechanics and engineers, sufficient technical training will have to be arranged for the purpose of management, repair and maintenance. The skilled marine academy will have to be increased. Even it will be trained from foreign country. Moreover sailors and other skilled and experienced staffs must be engaged in service for a long time.

Proper maintenance: It is very essential to arrange the maintenance of water transport, ship and other transports. The sustainability of water transport can be possible to extend through well monitoring and maintenance. The staff will be built in such a way that they are not shown in maintenance.

Formation of strong salvage unit: A strong salvage unit is essential to risque distressed people from various natural calamities, and other reasons in our country. This salvage unit can be helped to decreases the amount of loss in case of accidents by taking proper attention.

Creation of storage facilities: Progressive storage facilities are necessary in port area to prevent loss of goods. The price of good can be possible to fix and the helping hand can be extended for losing people through storage facilities.

Development of wireless communication: Modern wireless communication system significant to arriving news of ill weather and helped to move the transport carefully in waterway. It is also essential to concern fisherman and water transport in deep sea.

Excavation of waterways: Digging waterway and increasing deepness of water help to continue well transportation system in Bangladesh. In every year, the base of river is filled with soil, sand etc. Dredger should be imported to ensure smoothly transportation system.

4.0 Greater Dhaka metropolitan area integrated water transport study 4.1 The waterways ring  Narayanganj and as far north as Tongi is fully encircled by a continuous ring of waterways comprising the BuriGanga River, Turag River, Balu River, Lakhya Riverand Dhaeeswari River.  At Tongi in the north, about halfway round the ring from Narayanganj, the ring’s navigable continuity is seriously impeded by the low height clearances for vessels

beneath the road and rail bridges. Navigability along the entire length of the Tongi and the Turag River is also impeded by there being little water depth in the dry season. 4.2 Waterways within the ring  Within the waterways ring encircling greater Dhaka is or another network of waterways comprising river arms, khals, bodies of water are definable lakes.  Man-made developments have either intentionally, or by default, severed many connections being in many isolated sections with physical obstructions, notably landfills or boxed culverts, interrupting through routes in numerous locations.  The lakes at Dhanmondi, Gulshan and Banani remain very much intact and environmentally attractive but many of the remaining khals are now seriously polluted or choked. Traveling the clockwise around the ring, starting at Old Dhaka, the list of waterways within the ring which are of any significance, are: Old Dhaka’s Dholai Khal: It has become choked even its surviving length, which once penetrated Old Dhakato serne its market. Buriganga River to Hazaribagh: North of the busy commercial river frontage of Old Dhaka is a natural and still intact, river arm to Nawabganj and beyond to Hazaribagh. This waterway should be protected as a navigable facility for the transport of some consignment goods. Turag River to Rayer Bazar: Another surviving natural rive arm was well used to deliver produce to the area. Now it is used for commercial purposes up to the embankment. Turag River to Muhammadpur & Kallyanpur: The flood protection embankment has severed the waterways connection from these two suburban areas to the river. Khals between Mirpur and Tongi:  The Turag River itself provides the waterways link between Mirpur and Tongi but connecting the same two places by the Digun, Ibrahimpur and Abdullahpur Khals. For transportation, the connection with the river has been severed at all points because of the embankment. Thus, despite the sluice gates, these khals have become isolated so far as navigability is concerned.  There are no direct road links between the two expending areas of Mirpur and Tongi. Thousand of persons wish to travel from Mirpur to the site of pilgrimage at Tongi near to the point where the Abdullahpur Khals join the Turag River but on the opposite

bank. The river Turag would likely be the more practical and economic means by developing the khals and the accesses at both ends to them. Balu River to Rural Areas East to Airport: Southwards along the Balu River, next encountered are the accesses to the network of waterways which retain the greatest importance of any within the ring such as navigability, developing a small scale inner-city port etc.  The river support some traffic carried but beyond rampura only the smallest of boats may proceed because of the low height clearance beneath the road bridge, which takes the Asian Highway/Dhaka By-Pass over the Gazaria khal.  Dhaka have a small city-port developed at MaghBazar if the existing bridge were to be raised, if the embankment were to incorporate locks and if the Gazaria and begunbari Khals were to be dredged.  The Zirani and manada Khals, if restored give further scope for this network of waterways to be expended towards the Kamlapur area of the city. DND Khals: The next waterway Dhaka Narayanganj/Demra Khal parallels the busy but inadequate road between Saidabad in Dhaka and Demra. This khal does not link into the ring but terminates just short of the Lakhya River. Narayanganj River arm: The confluent of the Dhleswari and Buriganga rivers at Old Dhaka with in the final access to a waterway penetration within the ring is passed. This is the river arms which flaks the southern side of urban Narayanganj for which its navigability could usefully be protected. 4.3 Promotion of the waterways Much further study would be necessary to estimate the usage that might gradually be builtup for any such waterways projects. Without the benefit of this, DITS can only suspect that levels of demand, either from passengers or by freight-consignors, could not be induced to develop sufficiently to justify the considerable capital costs which would be incurred and for on-going maintenance and operating cost. 4.4 Proposals 4.4.1 A city center port at Magh Bazar 

The khals within the waterways ring still survive sufficiently to offer “a last opportunity” to develop a small cargo handling port in the heart of the urban area. Such a port would be connected to the ring and to the waterways throughout

Bangladesh. Around the concerned area is adequate open, wasteland space to build all the necessary associated facilities for goods handling and storage and for cargo. 

There are two central basins, one each on either side of the Tongi Diversion Road at Magh Bagar. If the port proposal is judged to be worthy of further consideration then the appropriate feasibility study would consider both and determine.

The khal flows in a northeasterly direction away from Magh Bazar is almost entirely neglected as a waterway purposes. Thus the khal would require major upgrading work to improve its navigability and the bridge to be raised as inherent prerequisites for a port.

As a flushing agent, it would be preferable to the present near stagnation of filthy water and would be beneficial in itself.

If such a port were to be developed, the port would also act as the terminus for any waterbus services and would require passenger landings.

Providing a port facility within any central part of Dhaka, it may be the industries of Tejgaon, to the commercial, shopping and residential premises around Magh Bazar and it could provide would rarely be a convenient as those that are provided by roadbased means.

If a new road is proposed for early construction to parallel the Buriganga Khal between Magh Bazar and Rampura. This will further diminish any potential utility that a waterway port Magh Bazar might have.

4.4.2 Development of jetty or pontoon facilities at Mirpur Bridge 

In a practical proposition, pontoons in the short term, but preferably purpose-designed jetties in the long term, and all the many other trans-shipment facilities, would be needed to be constructed adjacent to Mirpur Bridge to ensure that cargo handling can be conducted there with efficiently.

The Export Processing Zone at near Savar could begin to provide an additional stimulus for developing cargo-handling facilities alongside Mirpur Bridge.

4.4.3 Accessing Tongi Industrial Area 

If the Turag River’s navigability could be improved then small cargo vessels might usefully be able to proceed even beyond Mirpur Bridge to service the ever-expanding levels of economic activity at Tongi.

4.4.4 Tongi River Upgrading

There is an obvious need for some improvements to the navigability of this small river. Such a project would also enable some traffic between Narayanganj and Tongi to become waterborne by way of the Lakhya and Balu Rivers thereby resulting in less road traffic passing through Dhaka en route between the two.

4.4.5 Raising the road and rail bridges at Tongi 

Not only increasing the transport utility of the Tongi River out the entire circular length of the waterways ring would then become available to larger vessels. Creating gradients, it would result to rise higher over the river. On a busy railway line is something to be avoided if at all possible. Not only do gradients cause increased operating costs to be incurred indefinitely but unwelcome speed reductions also result.


Existing Water Transport Usage

Existing water transport usage in Dhaka city is summarized below and provides information on water travel characteristics and the current level of interchange with other modes:  About 3.1% of all trips are determined in water transport. Of the 151 zones in Dhaka city only 15 zones used water transport for at least 10% of their trips. Fig-08 summarizes the water transport usage pattern for Dhaka city. At Eastern fringe Area water transport represented 22% of all trips. Those living in the Eastern Fringe made over half (56%) of all water transport trips within the Dhaka Metropolitan area. Almost 25% of the 133 households owning boats lived in this area. Two zones in Demra accounted for another 25% of boat owning households (Source: Greater Dhaka Metropolitan Area- Integrated Transport Study-25th September, 1993).  Primarily the lower to middle class with monthly household incomes between taka 2000 and taka 10000 used water transport.


Fig 10: Water Transport use.

 Women made only 15% of water transport trips, which is less than their overall average of 19% of all trips. Fig-09 shows water transport is predominantly used for home-based work and school trips. While man men used water transport 2/3 of the time for work trips, women used water transport 62% percent for education; this is consistent with their overall trip purpose distribution. When queried for the mode they used for work or school trips, less that 1% listed boat as their usual mode.

 Over 90% traveled by water for taka three or less with 16% traveling free. The highest fare paid was taka 50. The average journey time was 27.6 minutes.  Trips were concentrated in the Eastern Fringe area and around Savar. All of these trips were intra zonal between Sadarghat and across the river Zinjira.  A review of all trips originating or terminating at Narayangonj revealed two key points: water travel was marginal and no trip were occurring between Narayangonj and Mirpur/Savar or between Narayangonj and Tongi, although these are all major

generators and improving their connections is assumed important. The few water transport trips occurred within Narayangonj or Fatullh Thana.  At Sadarghat 57% accessed water transport by rickshaw, 39% by walk, 15% by bus, 9% by other water transport. 4.5.2 Proposals Existing plans 

A shipping container terminal is to be constructed on the south bank of the Buriganga River downstream of the China Friendship Bridge.

The second bridge across the Buriganga river is intended upstream of the existing bridge to link Old Dhaka with Jinjira.

Dredging of the Turag River between Dhaka and Mirpur is intended for the use of landing at Mirpur.

A bridge is to be constructed across the Balu River north of Demra.

First and second stage flood protection embankments on the eastern side of Dhaka are planned. Possibilities 

There have implications of developing water taxi and waterbus services. Specially mentioned is a water corridor alongside the airport road.

There has the possibility of a water service being introduced between Dhaka Airport and the Tongi Industrial Area.

It would be very probably be possible to dig connecting channels to create a continuous roadside canal.

There should develop sufficient waterborne passenger traffic to and from the airport along the corridor to make viable the construction of such a lengthy navigable waterway.

There would also be need for a short canal arm to be built from the main line alongside the airport road.

If a regular dependable public service is to be guaranteed there would have to be an assured water supply so that operations on the canal would not be subject to cancellation in the dry season.

Most obviously the Buriganga River offers some apparent such as  A service between Dhaka and Narayangonj.  A service along the river fronting old Dhaka calling at several points.

 A service between Dhaka and Mirpur Bridge. 

Linking Mirpur to Tongi by waterbus, either by the Turag River or by the adjacent khals.

Connecting Saidabad in southeast Dhaka with Demra by waterbus. The DND khal is a waterway built for drainage purpose but it could be considered for waterborne passenger service.

Three routes radiating northeasterly from Magh Bazar via Tejgaon to Banani, Gulsan, Baridhara, Rampura and beyond offer some scope for water-bus and water-taxi services.

The existing condition and actual physical constraints of the khals and minor rivers would not permit any early introduction of such services whilst the Buri Ganga River is too congested in the old Dhaka area to make for practical and safe operational of a frequent service calling at closely spaced, purpose-built jetties.

4.6 Recommendations With the exception of the Jinjira and other south/west river bank generated trips, greater Dhaka’s waterways are contributing virtually nothing of significance to the areas transport infrastructure for internal journeys. Indeed the only other waterborne journeys worthy of any note for either passengers or freight within the study area are centered on Mirpur and on Tongi or are made by country boats which, from the Balu river, penetrate to Rampura via the Gazaria and Badda Khals and then further to Maghbazar by way of the Begunbari khal. However in none of these cases are the traffic volumes sufficient to represent sufficient any of overall statistical or economic importance. The bulk received at Narayanganj from as far as Chittagong is distributed by trucks throughout Dhaka area, all of which must traverse the congested and sub-standard road from Narayanganj to Dhaka. To avoid this situation there requires some investment in improving the berthing arrangements alongside Mirpur Bridge, notably by the construction of jetties. Purposedesigned for fast and frequent water transportation service in different places and with some well located en-rute jettys for brief syops for passenger to alight/board, might have some potential to ease conditions on the congested river-side road. Suggestion are made from time to time that the surviving khals and lakes in and around greater Dhaka and northwards on the Airport/Tongi axis offer scope for waterbus and or water-taxi services. The real problem here is that the concerned bodies of water have either become discontinuous over the years. In addition height clearances have been lost at several locations where road and rail bridge pass-over waterways. Other problems are that many

of them have degenerated into heavily polluted drainage outlets such that it would require major capital works to upgrade sufficiently for them to become environmentally acceptable for use as passenger traffic routes. The prospects for capitalizing on the potentials are greater for increased waterborne freight movements than waterborne passenger totals to rise. With immediate effect it should become policy to protect the potential navigability of all remaining khals and lakes at least until their prospective use as traffic arteries has been dismissed once and for all. This means that no drainage and flood control measures should be allowed to restrict future navigation without proper liaison with the BIWTA. Box-culver ting schemes should be reviewed for the height clearances, which will result beneath any new bridges planned for construction over khals. The BIWTA investigates the physical and cost aspects of jetty and associated infrastructure facilities construction alongside Mirpur bridge to enable greater volumes of waterborne freight than at present to extend northwards of Dhaka. The BIWTA investigates the potential for upgrading the khals from the ring to Rampura and on to Magh bazaar so that small motorized cargo vessels could navigate them in order that some freight consignments be enabled to penetrate the urban area by means of boat rather than by truck. If so the same khals would then also be considered for use by passenger boats.

5.0 Summary and Conclusion In Bangladesh, a thriving water transport network carries all manner of goods and people. In a country like Bangladesh, where land is scarce and more than half of the area and more than 3/4th of the villages, growth centers or commercial areas are within 10 km. distance from rivers or waters, river transport is a viable alternative to new roads and adequate as well as efficient water transport system is also a pre-requisite for both initiating and sustaining economic development. Investment in improving water transport efficiency is the key to expansion and integration of markets - sub-national, national and international. It also helps the generation of economies of scale, increased competition, reduced cost, systematic urbanization, export-led faster growth and a larger share of international trade. So taking the above solutions to solve the water transportation problems of the country, may be made it’s more sustainable development.


1. “Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (2001)”, Planning Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka. 2. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), “Annual ports and traffic report 1998-99”, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Published by: Survey And Statistics Section Of Ports And Traffic Department Of BIWTA. 3. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), “Annual ports and traffic report 1977-78”, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Published by: Director Of Ports And Traffic And Deputy Conservator Of Inland Ports. 4. Banglapedia, “National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, volume: 2 & 10”. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, March 2003. 5. “Daily Azker Kagoj”, 29th March, 2004. 6. “East Pakistan Inland Water Transport Authority, Volume: 11”; Inventories Of The Water Ways, Part-A- Classification, Traffic And Fleet, Netherlands Engineering Consultants (NEDECO). The Hague-Holland. 7. http://www.matrixnetonline.com/. 8. http://www.minvenw.nl 9. M. Alimullah Md. (1998), “Paribahan” Institute of Business Administration, DU, Bangla Academy. 10. R. Ataur Md. (July, 1995), “Adhunik Paribahan” Jahanara Book House, Dhaka. 11. “Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh-2002”, 21st edition, June 2002. 12. “The Daily Star”, 2nd April, 2004. 13. “The Fifth Five Year Plan 1997-2002”, Planning Commission, Ministry Of Planning, Government Of The Peoples Republic Of Bangladesh, Dhaka. March 1998. 14. “Urban Planning Guide”, Revised Edition, Published by: American Society of Civil Engineering, New York. 15. “Water Transport, Volume 4”, Issue 3, December 1996, CIDA. 16. Webmaster@eb2000.org.


Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Bangladesh Shipping Corporation Container Freight Service


Dhaka Narayangonj Demra Dead Weight Tons Economic Resources Zone Inland Container Depots Inland Water Transport Landing Craft Types

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