Bangladesh Land Ports Authority
Bangladesh Land Ports Authority an autonomous body under administrative control of Ministry of Shipping was created by Government of Bangladesh under Act 20 of 2001 with a view to facilitates bilateral/trilateral trade with neighbouring countries like India, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan. Out of 181 land customs stations functioning across 4,246 km land and river border (94% with India and 6% with Myanmar) 13 have been declared as land ports and placed under the control of BSBK. Benapole Land Port started operation in 2001. Other three land ports Teknaf, Sonamosjid and Hilli have gone under operation in 2004, 2006 and 2007 respectively. These three ports are being operated on BOT basis by the non-government operators who have invested huge amount of money in this sector. Within a short span of six years, BSBK has earned of Tk. 310 million in the form of tariff and deposited in government exchequer. It has also generated employment opportunities for more than ten thousand families directly or indirectly. The rest nine land ports will be brought under operation in phases. BSBK play an important role in facilitating foreign trade with the neighbouring countries through land ports. Though the balance of trade with India is not in favour of Bangladesh will improve this position by boosting up exports and gaining wider market access of Bangladeshi goods and commodities to Indian market gradually and by reducing the trend of smuggling.
BSBK is also encouraging the private investors in the public-private-partnership (PPP) projects in the land port sector. Infrastructural development of these ports is going on as planned. There is a great prospect of increased economic activities as well as employment opportunities also by promoting economic activities in remote areas, when all these ports will go on operation. Thus BSBK will be able to contribute more in the development of national economy by facilitating greater employment generation for poverty alleviation. Functions of the BSBK includes inter alia-to operate, manage, develop with extension when required and to formulate policy of the Land Ports; to receive, preserve and deliver the Import-Export goods/commodities through Land ports; to formulate the schedule of collectable tax, tolls, rate and fees from the land port users with prior approval of the Government; and to sign the agreement for implementing the objectives of the establishment and operation of land ports with any concerned authority. [Muhammad Abdul Mazid]