It is a great pleasure and honour for me to welcome you all in the second SAMLF 2018. This event is being hosted by the Ministry of Shipping to provide a common platform with a view to boost shipping and logistics capacities of the regional countries and connect people and business domains of the South Asian region. The objective of this forum is to explore opportunities, find solutions for existing challenges, share best practices and identify ways to collaborate among maritime sector of South Asian countries, maintaining link with the developing and developed world.
This seminar is very important from our national and regional perspective. South Asia has shown outstanding economic growth in the past two decades and maintained a significant share in the regional and international trade. It has a very promising prospect of developing the maritime and shipping sector to take lead in maritime business in the 21st century. South Asia is now the fastest growing region in the world and has posted exceptional trade performance since the liberalisation era in the 1990s. However, intra-regional trade has been lagging behind mostly due to integration effort that largely depend upon political will and connectivity. For improving connectivity there is need to develop communication network and taking this in view Metro rail, Dhaka elevated expressway, deep seaport, Bay Terminal, LNG station and some other mega projects are being implemented by the government to connect ports with land-based industry located around the country.
Presently annual growth in trade connected through Chittagong Port is 14 per cent on average. More dynamism in the operational activities of the port has been introduced. To meet the demand of the regional transportation network, Payra Port has been established in 2013 as a deep seaport on the southern part of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Land Port Authority also started operations since 2001 with a mission to expedite and facilitate export/import activities through land port.
“South Asia has a very promising prospect of developing the maritime and shipping sector to take lead in maritime business in the 21st century.”
South Asia is a major focus of global growth, trade and market expansion. This can create an opportunity to expand logistics and maritime related services in this region. South Asia Logistics and Maritime Forum can play a vital role to bring together all the regional countries and promote the greater interest of this region which could help all countries in South Asia and its people to develop maritime and shipping for our economic advancement.