Challenges & Eevelopments

BIWTC: Issues of challenges and developments

²BIWTC is a service oriented commercial organization had been playing a vital role in Socio Economic development efforts of the nation by providing ferry services across the major river gaps and operating passenger services in between Dhaka-Barisal-Khulna inland river route. Moreover, as a part of its Public Service Obligation (PSO) it is rendering services in Chittagong-Sandwip-Hatiya-Barisal route in the coastal belt and remote off-shore island of the country.

Ferry Services are connecting different regions of Bangladesh with the capital city by establishing uninterrupted road communication. Passenger Services are playing mentioning role in maintaining the daily and safe transportation for the mass people of southern region and coastal belt where water way is the only communication media. Thus, BIWTC is making significant and specialized contribution in ferry services and coastal passenger services.

After formation in 1972, the organization carried gigantic amount of food grains, POL etc. But during the 80’s private operator comes to ply vessels in Cargo Sector alongside with public operator. As a result, the scope of BIWTC for carring cargo is reduced.

² Since Bangladesh is riverine country,  BIWTC is playing significant role in safe transportation under public sector of passengers, goods and vehicles at a cheaper cost as well as the sector has a strong contribution to the economic development of the country since of all the mode of transportation IWT is :

i)                    gift of the nature.

ii)                  cheapest and fuel efficient

iii)                conducive to development of tourism, fisheries, irrigation and flood drainage.

iv)                require minimum infrastructure  to be developed.

v)                  least maintenance cost.

²BIWTC started its integrated journey on 1st July 1974 and continued to discharge the gigantic task of up-keeping the communication system when there was no private sector in the River Transport and at the same time Road and Railway systems were also in damaged condition.

At the time of formation, BIWTC though owned 608 number of different types of vessels but most of them were age old and in a very dilapidated condition and also inherited an accumulated loss of tk.3.27 crore. Due to the poor condition of the vessels and ever increasing operation costs though BIWTC is always on operational profit but could not make net profit before 1995-1996. BIWTC earned a net profit of Tk.1.51 crore during 1995-1996  for the first time.

As a result, BIWTC’s development programmes emphasized on procurement of new vessels, rehabilitation and modernization of old vessels for providing efficient services in public sector and also make the organization a profitable one.

²It is mentionable that during the period 1980-2000 World Bank, DANIDA, China, Belgium etc. were the major development partners in implementing the development projects of BIWTC.

World Bank/IDA

The World Bank has since been involved in the development of IWT sector of Bangladesh since inception of the country in 1971. During the last decades World Bank offered assistance in the form of IWT-I, IWT-II and IWT-III in phases.

2 minor programmes under IDA Assistnace namely IWT-I and IWT-II were implemented in 1973 and 1977 respectively. A bigger package programme IWT-III were also implemented during 1995-2000 under the Development Credit Agreement signed on 17 June 1991 between GOB & World Bank.

IWT-I : Under IWT-I spare parts and dockyard equipments worth about US$ 3.00 million were procured which were utilized for rehabilitation and operation of vessels and for increasing the dockyard facilities.

IWT-II : Under IWT-II some spare parts for operation and maintenance of fleet and some feasibility studies viz. cargo handling study and financial/accounting study worth about US$ 2.275 million were undertaken. The spare parts procured under the project were fully utilized for operation and maintenance of BIWTC vessels.

Under the financial and accounting study several measures were undertaken in develop the present accounting system and restructuring of the financial structure of BIWTC. The following measures were under taken and were implemented in the overall financial and accounting restructuring of BIWTC:

1)      Revision and design of accounting system and procedure.

2)      Assistance in the implementation of recommended accounting system.

3)      Optimal utilization of the present accounting machines and recommendation for upgrading the machine system.

4)      Review of financial condition of BIWTC and preparation of medium term financial projector.

IWT-III : With a view to attaining some of the key problem in the IWT sector & to implement the priority investment programme the Third Inland Water Transport Project was implemented during 1995-2000. The objectives of IWT-III project was transforming BIWTC into a commercially viable organization and has laid a due importance to undertake various projects duly recommended by the BIWTC Management Consultant appointed under a package of  IWT-III project of the World Bank so as to gain momentum in its commercial and financial activities at the different levels of operation.

Under IWT-III package programme some organizational and financial reforms under a TA Project were adapted through FINNIDA financing worth about US$ 1.50 million. In addition 3 development projects namely (i) Rehabilitation of Selected Vessels of BIWTC (7 Dumb barges, 2 Tankers and 6 K-type ferries) (ii) Procurement of miscellaneous equipment and creation of infrastructural facilities of BIWTC (iii)  Procurement of miscellaneous equipment and creation of infrastructural facilities (Phase-II) worth about US$ 9.28 million were undertaken.

Belgiun Assistance

During 1993-1996,  BIWTC implemented the projects “Rectification of 3 defects dieselized passenger vessels (P.S. Mahsud, P.S. Ostrich, P.S. Lepcha)”  by using Belgiun grant under a development project.

DANIDA

DANIDA played very worthmentioned role for capacity development of BIWTC. During 1980-1992, BIWTC procured 10 Nos. Ro-Ro ferry and 9 Nos. Ro-Ro Pontoon with Danish Financial and Technical Assistance under development project. This big procurement was a turning point for BIWTC to enhance the quality of services as well as the financial position of the organization to an expected level. The name of the first Ro-Ro ferry is Amanat Shah which helped BIWTC to earn crores of Taka.

BIWTC was providing ferry services quite smoothly at Aricha and Mawa sector with the help of these ferries. The Ro-Ro ferries were than the new addition, latestly designed, comfort at journey and amazement to the people at 1980’s.

Chinese Assistance

After 10 years BIWTC procured another 2 Ro-Ro ferries built at CMC Hitran International Shipbuilding Company in China under Chinese Preferential Credit under another development project in May, 2002. Under the same programme 1 coastal passenger ship MV. Baro Awlia and 4 sea-trucks were also procured under Chinese Preferential Credit.

Lastly, BIWTC built another Ro-Ro ferry in Bangladesh in Western Marine Shipyard Ltd. in Chittagong and deployed in services in August, 2011.

²With the development of economic activities, number of vehicles carried at ferry ghats increased manifold. Simultaneously, number of ferry routes and ferry ghats also increased. It is worthmentioned here that Aricha ferry services were started in 1964 and Mawa ferry services were started in 1987. Then BIWTC introduced Chandpur-Shariatpur, Laharhat-Veduria and Bhola-Laxmipur ferry services. These can be seen in a tabulated form as under.

 

Name of route

Opening year

Comments

Narayanganj-Daudkandi 1963  
Aricha-Nagarbari 1964 After opening BangabandhuBridge the route was closed down. Then it was opened and operated several times as Paturia-Natakhola, Paturia-Protappur and finally Paturia-Kazirhat
Aricha-Goalando 1964  
Bhuapur-Sirajganj January, 1982 (27-01-1982) Closed on 23-06-1998
Mawa-Charjanajat June,1987 (29-06-87)  
Paturia-Natakhola November, 1996 (23-11-1996) Presently closed.
Mawa-Kathalbari February, 2000 (29-02-2000)  
Chandpur-Shariatpur April, 2001 (25-04-2001)  
Paturia-Daulatdia February, 2002 (17-02-2002)  
Paturia-Nagarbari February, 2002 (17-02-2002)  
Mawa-Monglamajhi January, 2007 (16-01-2007)  
Laharhat-Veduria August, 2008 (01-08-2008)  
Bhola-Laxmipur March, 2008 (11-03-2008)  
Paturia-Kazirphat May, 2012 (18-05-2012)  

Source MIS section, Commercial Department, BIWTC.

²With the passage of time, number of ferry could not increased compared to the traffic movement. These created adverse effect on BIWTC’s ferry services. To overcome the situation, BIWTC has been taken tremendous steps following the strong directives of the Govt. to increase its ferry fleet. The following table gives us a picture of ferry procurement during 2000-2013:

 

Types of ferries

In 2000

In 2005

During 2006-13

(At the end

of December’13)

At the end of 2014

Ro-Ro ferry

10

12

13

14 (1 is under construction)
K-type ferry

8

8

12

14 (2 is under approval stage)
Utility Type-1 ferry

6 (4 is under construction)

9 (3 is under construction)
Dumb ferry

8

8

8

8
Medium ferry

4

4

3

3
Small ferry

3

3

3

2
 

33

35

45

50

 

Besides BIWTC is going to introduce the following ferry routes:

 

  1. Bekutia-Kumirmara-Bekutia (Kawkhali-Pirojpur)
  2. Charkhali-Togra-Charkhali (Vandaria-Pirojpur)
  3. Bahadurabad-Balashi-Bahadurabad (Jamalpur-Gaibandha)

 

² Not only in ferry fleet, different type of vessels have been procured with the aim of providing frequent services. The addition of BIWTC’s fleet during 2000-2013 may be seen in the given table:

 

Sl.

Type of vessel

Number

Date of procurement

Construction cost (In Lakh Taka

Sea-Truck

4

January, 2001

521.00

Sea-Truck

4

April,2002

1522.35

Coastal Passenger Vessel (MV. Baro Awlia)

1

April, 2002

3496.34

Ro-Ro ferry

2

April, 2002

4151.18

Water Taxi

1

2006

Utility Type-1 ferry

2

Nov.10

1162.40

Utility Type pontoon

2

Nov.10

216.26

Sea-Truck

4

Oct.10

1626.99

Water Bus

2

Aug.10

111.50

Ghat Pontoon

2

June.09

473.85

K-type ferry

2

July,11

1636.00

Ro-Ro Ferry

1

Aug.11

2488.04

Ro-Ro Pontoon

1

Aug,11

478.31

Utility Type Pontoon

2

Aug,12

281.20

Water Bus

4

June,13

345.00

Utility Type pontoon

2

June.13

362.00

K-type ferry

2

August,13

Total

46

   

 

 

Total 27 Nos. of vessels is now under construction/under approval stage. Those vessels will be added in the fleet within 2015:

 


Sl.

Type of vessel

Number

Tentative Date of procurement

Construction cost (In Lakh Taka

1

Utility Type-1 ferry

7

December,13

4550.00

2

Water Bus

4

June.14

500.00

3

Inland Passenger Vessel

2

Oct.13

4950.00

4

Ro-Ro ferry

1

December,14

2758.52

5

Ro-Ro Pontoon

1

June.14

389.02

6

Coastal Passenger Vessel

2

December,15

5500.00

7

Inland Passenger Vessel

2

December,14

4525.00

8

K-type ferry

2

April’15

1780.00

9.

Container carrying vessel

4

December,2015

151.00

Total

27

 

 

 

² During the recent past, BIWTC concentrated to the development of technological facilities in the various services provided by herself with the aim of ensuring quality services to the people. These are given below:

 

  1. BIWTC installed and introduced VTS (Vessel Tracking System) in the ferry ship and passenger ship.
  2. Introduce of automation i.e. VIDEO conference system is being carried out.
  3. 4 Nos. Wreckers procured and placed at Paturia, Mawa ferry ghats for removing the disable vehicles in the approach road of ferry ghats and smooth and quick loading/unloading.
  4. Last of all, BIWTC introduced cargo weighing scale at Mawa ferry ghat. Installation of the same in other ferry ghats successively is being carried out.

 

²The projects of BIWTC during 1995-2013 are given below:

 

Sl.

Name of the project

Implementation period

Financing

Estimated cost

Rectification of 3 dieselized passenger vessel (PS. Mahsud, PS. Ostrich, PS. Lepcha) October,1993-December,1996

Belgium

Total: 1258.47

LC: 436.97

FE: 861.50

BIWTC Management Consultancy Services. August,1995- October,1995

World Bank/IDA

Total: 483.00

LC: –

FE: 483.00

Rehabilitation of selected vessels of BIWTC. June,1996- June,2000

World Bank/IDA

Total: 3175.53

LC: 150.00

FE: 3025.53

Procurement of misc. equipment and creation of infrastructure facilities of BIWTC. March,1996- December,2000

World Bank/IDA

Total: 1683.33

LC: 523.62

FE: 1159.71

Procurement of misc. equipment and creation of infrastructure facilities of BIWTC (Phase-II). January,1998- June,2000

World Bank/IDA

Total: 159.95

LC: 22.80

FE: 137.15

Acquisition of 4 Nos. Sea-Trucks for operation in coastal areas and off-shore islands. July,1998- December,2000

GOB

Total: 521.72

LC: 521.70

FE: –

Procurement of 2 Ro-Ro ferry, 1 coastal passenger vessel and 4 sea-trucks under China ISP Credit. August,1999- April,2002

China ISP Credit

Total: 9169.87

LC: 2767.97

FE: 6401.90

Establishment of infrastructural facilities at Harinaghat in the district of Chandpur and at Alubazar in the district of Shariatpur for opening a new ferry route in between Chandpur-
Shariatpur district.
March,1999-June,2002

GOB

Total: 121.30

LC: 121.30

FE: –

 

Rehabilitation of Ro-Ro ferry and pontoons of BIWTC August,2000-September,2002

DANIDA

Total: 932.53

LC: 266.56

FE: 665.97

Rehabilitation of 4 Ro-Ro and 3 Ro-Ro pontoon of BIWTC (Shah Ali, Amanat Shah, Shah Jalal and Shah Mokhdoom) July,2006-  December,2009

BIWTC

Total: 2228.00

LC:  2228.00

FE: –

Rehabilitation of 2 coastal passenger vessel (MV. Abdul Matin and MV. Monirul Hoque) of BIWTC. July,2006- June, 2009

GOB

Total: 1812.55

LC: 1812.55

FE: –

Rehabilitation of 6 Ro-Ro ferry, 2 K-type ferry and 6 Pontoons of BIWTC. July,2007- December,2014

60% GOB

40% BIWTC

Total: 7397.69

LC: 7397.69

FE: –

Construction of 4 Nos. Sea-Trucks for carrying passenger in coastal belt and in the risky water routes of the country. July,2008- June, 2010

60% GOB

40% BIWTC

Total: 1626.26

LC:  1626.26

FE: –

Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Infrastructure and other facilities damaged by Cyclone ‘SIDR’-2007 (1st Revised) July, 2008- June, 2010

GOB

Total:  901.44

LC:  901.44

FE:

Construction of Ro-Ro ferry, Ro-Ro pontoon, K-type ferry, Utility Type-1 ferry and pontoon for BIWTC. January,2009- June,2014

60% GOB

40% BIWTC

Total: 10222.00

LC: 10222.00

FE: –

Construction/Acquisition of 4 Nos. 108 TEU’s Self propelled cellular container vessels. January, 2010- June,2013 extension is being processed.

JDCF

Total: 13779.00

LC: 13779.00

FE: –

Construction of 1 Ro-Ro ferry and 1 Ro-Ro pontoon for operation in Chandpur-Shariatpur route. July, 2012-

June, 2014

80% GOB

20% BIWTC

Total: 3370.00

LC:  3370.00

FE:  –

Construction of Passenger Vessels for providing efficient passenger services in Chittagong-Sandwip-Hatiya-Barisal Coastal route. Submitted to Planning Commission

Total: 3430.00

LC: 3430.00

FE: –

Construction of 2 Nos. inland passenger vessels for operation in Dhaka-Barisal inland water route. Submitted to Planning Commission

Total: 4525.00

LC: 4525.00

FE: –

BIWTC is a public sector entity is likely to continue its present services including the future container service.

 

² After 2000 no foreign investment in BIWTC for implementing the development projects. The organization was implementing its development project under GOB financing from FY-2003-2004. It is mentionable that from FY-2006-2007. BIWTC has been implementing its development project by using its own fund alongside with the ADP fund.

 

The projects those are implemented/under implementation by using BIWTC’s own resources are given below:

 

Sl.

Name of the project

Implementation period

Financing

Estimated cost   (Lakh Taka)

Modification of passenger steamer MV. Sonargaon.  

BIWTC

 
Construction of 2 Nos. K-type ferry for ensuring quick and efficient ferry services provided by BIWTC in Mawa ferry sector.  

BIWTC

1666.67
Construction of 2 Nos. Utility Type-1 ferry and 2 Nos. Utility Pontoon.  

BIWTC

1378.00
Construction of 2 Nos. Water buses.  

BIWTC

111.50
Construction of 4 No. Water Buses for operation in Sadarghat-Ashulia circular water route.  

BIWTC

345.18

 

Construction of 2 Nos. Passenger Vessels for BIWTC for operation in the Inland River Routes (1st Revised).  

BIWTC

5143.52
Procurement/Construction of  4 Nos. additional Water Buses for operation in circular water route.  

BIWTC

500.00
Construction of High-RiseHeadOfficeBuilding Complex of BIWTC at 5, Dilkusha C/A, Dhaka.  

BIWTC

3020.00

 

² Impact of BIWTC’s Project.

Projects of BIWTC have a potential contribution to the overall economy of the country.

 

(i)                 Projects of BIWTC are facilitating quick and smooth ferry operation, passenger ship operation and directly helping to promote trade, commerce, production and distribution of products and thereby also contributing to increase the economic activities of the country.

(ii)               Consequently generating more employment opportunities both for men and women.

(iii)             Implementation of the project ensuring safe, dependable and timely transportation.

(iv)             Women of the respective region having facilities to involve themselves in economic activities, education, culture etc. Safe, sound, dependable and faster communication facility will be helpful to the traveling passengers especially for the women and children. Therefore the project will have positive impact for upliftment of the social status of women and children.

(v)               The construction of the vessels under the projects involving adoption of modern/new technology and helping to enrich the technical know how of the respective professionals thereby developing the human resources of the country.

(vi)             Projects of BIWTC are also helping to develop the shipbuilding industry in Bangladesh.

(vii)           The vessels procured and rehabilitated under different development projects help a lot to maintain necessary communication at the time of any national disaster and natural calamities.

(viii)         The above impacts are directly contributing to achieve the objectives, goals and out comes of the national plan policy and poverty alleviation.

² Sustainable Development.

Hundreds of projects are being implemented every year by the Govt. Thousands of project are being included in the ADP. But after completion questions arise incase of most of the project about quality, time, specification, price etc. and finally sustainability.

In fact, success of projects depends on timely and proper implementation. All concerned should be careful about unnecessary delay. Besides, financial discipline, proper work plan, strong monitoring and supervision should be maintained strictly.

Above all, one of the main objectives is poverty alleviation. Sustainable development is one of the prerequisite to achieve the objective. Hence all concerned must keep the concept for sustainable development during implementation. The technology which can sustain the project must be selected. At the same time, shipyard must be careful for their technical capability.

 

² At the end

An old man-

aged more than 60 yrs, looking melancholy, sharp pointed beard, lean-bodied.

In our society, he is ‘so called’ a lower class people or can say poor class people

is standing on the deck of paddle steamer with a heavy loaded wicker-basket on his head.

Not a little space on the deck to seat.

He is going to Chandpur from Dhaka spreading over a journey of 4 and ½ hours.

Readers, this is not a part of any story.

This is a picture of journey of BIWTC’s Paddle Steamer from Dhaka to Chandpur before Eid festival.

Why that old man is traveling without a seat with a heavy loaded wicker-baskets on his head?

Till now BIWTC’s vessels are safe and dependable to the people who are traveling frequently in Dhaka-Barisal route. They oftenly like to travel in BIWTC’s Paddle Steamer.

IWT is suffering with under investment since a long time. Due to inadequate allocation, procurement of more vessel, creation more facilities/infrastructure could not possible. BIWTC also needs more budgets for its fleet development.

When we can overcome the difficulties,  we have sufficient fund, we can enhance our capacity and capability – development works must be sustained for the coming years.

The old people will leave the ships with happiness. Wheel sucany again will hold the wheel for the next trip.

………………..And we will have a healthy organization, a prosperous country.