Experts on Tuesday said Bangladesh’s garment industry needs to improve its infrastructure and logistics in order to sustain growth.
They added that, despite significant infrastructure advancements in Bangladesh’s garment factories, including efforts to go green, workplace safety and compliance – the industry still needs to shorten lead time.
They were speaking at a panel discussion during the ongoing Made in Bangladesh Week 2022, on “Logistics Infrastructure to Take Bangladesh to the Next Level of Economic Growth.”
The panel, moderated by Dhaka Tribune Executive Editor Reaz Ahmed, BGMEA Director Faisal Samad said that the RMG manufacturers dreamt of a $50 billion export only 10 years ago and today it’s a reality but without the right policy support and the infrastructure logistics in place or continued improvements, they could not have achieved same.
Navidul Huq, director of the BGMEA, said that the trade volume of Bangladesh is growing.
“When it comes to logistics, there are two main things, cost and efficiency,” he added, saying that Bangladesh is still weak here.
Bangladesh has greater logistics costs, which is also very time-consuming and inefficient.
“Moreover, our transport heavily relies on roads and highways, where railways and waterways are more cost-effective and eco-friendlier,” he added.
There are so many difficulties in customs. Where the world counts hours, Bangladesh still counts days, he added.
“There are also problems related to HS code, which is one of the main barriers impacting the lead time,” he added.
As trade volume is growing along with the economy, Bangladesh needs to focus on the future aspects, he added.
“Bangladesh’s geo location is very suitable to be a hub for global logistics, but we need proper planning in this regard,” he added.
Reaz Ahmed, the executive editor of Dhaka Tribune, moderated the session.
He said that in the last decade, Bangladesh has achieved an impressive track record of growth and development and proved itself through its performance in trade, investment and socio-economic improvements in the last 50 years.
“The RMG industry is expanding rapidly and so does the need for adequate infrastructure to support its growth. Ensuring sound infrastructure facilities is one of the prerequisites for realizing the vision. This issue will be even more important because now buyers want to source more fashionable products with shorter lead time,” he added.
The country needs to develop a strong infrastructure linking the whole country to ensure higher job opportunities.
“The government needs to quickly complete the mega infrastructure projects and improve connectivity, i.e. road, rail, sea and airport. Promoting Mongla Port for export and Chittagong for import or vice versa would be a good option or making Mongla a viable second port for both,” he added.
He also suggested that the policymakers should work together to unleash the potentials of the RMG sector as well as all other sectors,” he added.