Bangladesh Drafts First-Ever Logistics Policy to Revitalize Sector

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Aimed at revitalizing the logistics sector, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of Bangladesh has introduced the country’s inaugural logistics policy, signaling a pivotal step towards enhancing efficiency, reducing bottlenecks, and fostering sustainable growth in the industry. However, amidst optimism surrounding the policy’s potential, stakeholders have voiced concerns regarding its clarity, bureaucratic hurdles, and the need for robust implementation mechanisms.

Shahida Sultana, Director General of the Executive Cell and PEPZ of the PMO, affirmed that the draft policy, meticulously crafted through stakeholder consultations, is now open for feedback and refinement. Assuring prompt finalization, Sultana underscored the government’s commitment to addressing the sector’s long-standing challenges and unlocking its untapped potential.

Despite ongoing efforts to revamp the logistics landscape, Bangladesh continues to grapple with its position in global logistics indices. The Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2024 ranked Bangladesh 33rd out of 50 emerging countries, reflecting modest improvements but highlighting persistent challenges. While the nation climbed two spots since 2019, it lags behind its South Asian counterparts, underscoring the urgency of comprehensive reforms to bolster competitiveness and foster inclusive growth.

Despite the optimism surrounding the policy, certain investors have expressed reservations regarding certain provisions of the policy, citing ambiguities and apprehensions about potential bureaucratic impediments. Their concerns underscore the importance of ensuring clarity and coherence in policy formulation to foster investor confidence and facilitate seamless implementation.

Echoing the sentiment for streamlined coordination, the Country Manager of Expeditors (Bangladesh) Ltd emphasized the necessity for a lead coordinator to effectively oversee the logistics sector’s operations and optimize resource allocation. Similarly, Fazlul Hoque, former President of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), lauded the policy’s objectives but cautioned against punitive measures for non-compliance, advocating for a balanced approach that incentivizes compliance while minimizing regulatory burdens.

Dr. Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange Bangladesh, emphasized the imperative of a time-bound legal and regulatory reform agenda to translate policy aspirations into tangible outcomes. Dismissing concerns about operational complexities, Dr. Reaz underscored the need for enhanced institutional coordination and robust public-private partnerships to overcome implementation challenges and drive sustainable growth in the logistics sector.

Notably, Bangladesh showcased resilience in domestic logistics opportunities, ranking 16th in Agility’s Ranking and demonstrating incremental progress. However, in international logistics, the country fell to 36th place, signaling the need for targeted interventions to enhance connectivity and facilitate trade. Despite these challenges, Bangladesh exhibited improvements in business fundamentals, climbing two spots, and digital readiness, ascending five places, reflecting the nation’s growing adaptability to the evolving global trade landscape.

As Bangladesh charts its course toward a vibrant and dynamic logistics ecosystem, the draft logistics policy represents a seminal opportunity to address systemic inefficiencies, promote innovation, and unleash the sector’s full potential. With stakeholder engagement and collaborative governance at its core, the policy holds the promise of driving sustainable development and positioning Bangladesh as a regional logistics hub in the years to come.

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