Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the 6.15 km landmark Padma bridge on Saturday, 25th June 2022. This bridge gives connectivity a large boost by cutting travel time for moving goods between southwestern Bangladesh and the capital by four hours. This bridge will open southwestern Bangladesh to readymade garments, the largest export industry of Bangladesh. According to experts, this will be an economic game-changer for Bangladesh. Further investment should help Bangladesh logistics attain greater improvements.
The bridge will improve the activities of three ports, such as Benapole, Payra and Mongla. This should reduce pressure on the Chattogram port, which handles about 90% of Bangladesh’s seaborne trade. Economics estimates that about $20 billion is needed to advance the country’s current logistics services to the global standard. The Southwestern region is a producer of agricultural products but due to poor logistics and lack of inland depots, and storage facilities hindered investment opportunities.
The Padma bridge opens another economic corridor for Bangladesh and increases the opportunity for business expansion in the southwestern region of Bangladesh. Till now, the RMG industry was absent from the region, this bridge will create opportunity for new RMG factories to be set up. New businesses will create more jobs and reduce poverty in the region. Furthermore, by building a cold chain and an airport Bangladesh could export vegetables and flowers abroad.
The Federal Reserve of San Francisco calculates that $1 billion spent on building a bridge and the corresponding roadwork leads to $2 billion in economic growth. The Padma Bridge cost Bangladesh $3.87 billion. The tolls can recoup this cost as an example, Bangabandhu Bridge built on the river Jamuna 24 years ago was expected to reach construction cost from tolls collected by 2034. Collection from tolls has already surpassed the construction and future tolls will repay loans for the Padma Bridge.
The Padma bridge is a dream for millions of Bangladeshis and stands as an achievement of hard work and pride.