The dream of having a bridge over the mighty Padma River is going to come true. The highly needed bridge for economic connectivity with the southern district is expected to open on June 25, 2022. It is the 122nd longest bridge in the world and the longest bridge in Bangladesh, which is being built with its own funds.
The bridge will have a positive impact on the country’s textile and apparel sector, the biggest export earning industry. When Bangladesh is facing trouble to deliver its products to the ports on time to meet the lead time, the opening of Padma Bridge will ease the business and help the country’s export-oriented industry to reduce lead time.
Opening the Padma Bridge for transportation will open the doors of great potential and opportunity for the countrymen mostly in the southern-west parts. Business connectivity and activities will be smoother as it will cut to connect the southern districts with Dhaka, Chattogram ports and other districts.
As narrated by the country’s noted economists and experts, it would contribute 1.5 percent to 2 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP.
As an export lead economy, Bangladesh’s export-oriented sector, including the textile and apparel sector, the lifeline of the economy and foreign currency earners, will get a boost as it will reduce the time to transport goods to ports.
On top of that, ease of transportation will create new business opportunities for the agricultural and industrial sectors. This will create a new investment hub for both local and foreign investors. As a result, the southern district will turn into an industrial zone.
The bridge will directly connect the Mongla and Benapole ports to Dhaka and Chattogram. Some 19 districts of the south-western region would be connected with the rest of the country.
If the bridge is opened it will help the apparel makers, who are manufacturing clothing items in Mongla Export Processing Zone, to transport goods to Chittagong easily within a shorter period of time.
In 2021, Mongla Export Processing Zone’s exporters exported goods of $ 812 million.
With the existing system they have to ship goods via river and sometimes through road communication, which takes more time due to congestion at Maowa ferry Ghat.
As the lead time is very crucial for apparel exporters, exporters will get the privilege to attract more work orders from the buyers due to ease in transportation through Padma Bridge.
Not only exports but also it will help tens of thousands apparel workers to go to their village home in southern districts as the bridge will cut time and they will not suffer especially during holidays vacation like Eid-ul-Fitr.
It will also connect Louhajong, Munshiganj to Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the south-west of the country, to northern and eastern regions.
On the other hand, the Padma Bridge will also facilitate trade and commerce with neighboring countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan.
Apparel makers will be able to transport goods through road transportation to these countries, which will help to increase exports to the South Asian region as India is a big market for Bangladesh with a large volume of population.
However, the toll rate should be within the limit so that it does not increase the cost of doing business. According to the recent gazette published by the government, the toll rates would range from Tk 100 to over Tk 6,000 for different vehicles including motorcycles, cars, buses, trucks and trailers. These high toll rates certainly affect the positive business aspect.