The government plans to conduct a study for developing 18 transport corridors and facilities to capitalise the country's potential for becoming a transport and transshipment centre for the subregion -- India, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar.
The study will cost about US$1.2 million equivalent -- US$590,000 in foreign exchange cost and US$610,000 equivalent in local currency cost, according to Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The Manila-based donor agency will finance a total of US$950,000, covering the entire foreign exchange component and additional US$360,000 equivalent of the local currency portion.
The Bangladesh government will finance the balance of the local currency cost, equivalent to US$250,000.
ADB will arrange the fund under technical assistance (TA), which will be provided on a grant basis by the Japan Special Fund of the Japanese government.
The study will be done in two phases with a view to preparing a 'Development of Transport Corridors for Trade Facilitation Project' for ADB financing.
In the Phase-I, a prioritised list of possible infrastructure improvements along the identified transport corridors, including physical improvements in gateways, will be prepared on the basis of economic criteria.
In Phase II, possible projects chosen from this prioritised list by the government and ADB will be prepared for possible financing by ADB.
The study is expected to end by May 2007.
"Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport and transshipment centre for the Subregion as it borders India and Myanmar and is close to the landlocked countries of Bhutan and Nepal," the ADB said.
With the opening of the Jamuna Bridge and the proposed development of the Padma Bridge, the Dhaka-Chittagong transport corridor and other strategic transport corridors can facilitate trade between Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India, the Indian state of West Bengal, Bhutan, and Nepal and thereby attract more foreign and domestic investment to the country.
The study will be carried out by an internationally recognised consulting firm with expertise in transport engineering, economics and financial analysis, trade facilitation studies, environmental analysis, social and poverty analysis, and resettlement issues, in association with domestic consultants.
ADB will hire the consultants according to its Guidelines on the Use of Consultants. The consultant firm will be selected according to quality- and cost-based selection procedures, and shortlisted firms will be asked to submit a simplified technical proposal.