The transport sector of Bangladesh consists of a variety of modes. The country being a flat plain, all three modes of surface transport, i.e. road, railway and water are widely used in carrying both passengers and cargo.
More than half of Bangladesh have access to an all-weather hard surface road within 3 miles distance. There has been a dramatic expansion of road network in recent years. In 1947 there were only 461.8 kilometers of metalled roads. In 1997, the total length of paved road under the Roads and Highways Department stood at more than 20,000 kilometers. It is estimated that mechanized road transport carry about 70% of the country's total passenger and cargo volume.
In recent years. construction of a number of bridges such as the Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge, Meghna Bridge. Meghna-Gumti Bridge, Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge, Shambhuganj Bridge and Mahananda Bridge have been completed. The 4.8 km long Bangabandhu Bridge which has been opened to traffic in June, 1998, is the eleventh longest in the world. It has established a strategic link between the East and the West of Bangladesh has integrated the country, is generating multifaceted benefits to the people and promoting inter-regional trade. Apart from quick movement of goods and passenger traffic, it is faci1itating transmission of electricity and natural gas and has integrated the telecommunication links.
About 32% of the total area of Bangladesh is effectively covered by the railways. State-owned Bangladesh Railway operates a track of 2706 kilometer, employs about 60,000 people, owns a fleet of 307 locomotives, 1240 coaching vehicles and I L643 freight wagons, and provides passenger and cargo services through 502 stations.
About two-thirds of Bangladesh is a wetland laced with a dense network of rivers, canals and creeks. Water transport is the only means available in nearly 10% of' the total area. The navigable waterways vary between 8372 kilometer during the monsoon to 5200 kilometer during the dry season. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has been established by the government for maintenance of navigability of ports and channels while the state-owned BIWTC provide passenger and cargo services in inland waterways and coastal areas of the country.
The entire coast along the Bay of Bengal is 710 kilometer long. There are two major ports in the country. Chattogram, the oldest port, has been an entry-port for at least 1000 years. The Mongla port in Khulna region serves the western part of Bangladesh.
There are now 11 operational airports in Bangladesh. These are Dhaka, Barisal. Chittagomig. Comilla, Cox' s Bazar, Ishurdi, Jessore, Rajshahi, Syedpur, Sylhet and Thakurgaon. Of these, the airports at Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet serve international routes. Air careo and Short Take-oft and Landing (STOL) services have been opened to the private sector by the government.
The Civil Aviation Authority is a public sector entity entrusted to construct, maintain and supervise airports and regulate air traffic. The national flag carrier Biman flies to 26 international and 8 domestic destinations.Air:
Bangladesh can be reached by air from any part of the world. Biman Bangladesh airlines connects Dhaka with 27 major cities of the world.
Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Athens, Bangkok, Bombay, Calcutta, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Kathmandu, Kualalumpur, London, Muscat, Dhahran, Baghdad, Kuwait, Yangoon, Rome, Tripoli, Tokyo, Singapore, Baharin, Frankfurt, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Sarjah, Seoul, Riyadh and Delhi.
Besides Biman, several other (international) carriers also fly to and from Dhaka.
Biman, Bangladesh Airlines also connects Dhaka with Chattogram, Jessore, Cox's Bazar, Rajshahi Saidpur and Sylhet in its 7 domestic routes. (Biman, Bangladesh Airlines, Ph: 9560151-9; Enquiry & Reservations).Foreign Airlines:
The Bangladesh Railway provides an efficient service to places of interest such as Chattogram, Sylhet, Khulna, Mymensingh, Bogra, Rajshahi, Dinajpur starting from Dhaka. The inter-city Express Service is available to and from important cities at cheap fares.Waterways :
Country-Made boats are the most widely used carrier one can see in the river and rivulets. These carry passengers and merchandise on a large scale. The landscape of Bangladesh is dominated by about 250 rivers which flow essentially north-sourth. The alluvial flood plain formed by these rivers covers most of the country. Wherever there is a river and a village, a launch or steamer will ply for trade. A journey by Rocket Steamer service from Dhaka (Sadarghat) to Khulna, the gateway to Sundarbans is a rewarding experience.Bus/Coach Services -
Road transport in Bangladesh is a private sector affair operating predominantly in domestic routes. Rates are among the cheapest in the world. Express and non stop services are available to principal towns from Gabtoli, Saidabad and Mohakhai bus terminals in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) also maintains a countrywide network of bus services. Recently they have introduced Dhaka - Calcutta - Dhaka direct daily bus services via Benapole, Jessore.Railway -
Nationally operated Bangladesh Railway provides an efficient service throughout Bangladesh. The inter city Express Service is available to and from important cities if in all. Local trains serve in cheaper rates.Car Rental -
Private car hire service is available in Dhaka and some other major cities. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), a government organization, has a fleet of air-conditioned and non air-conditioned cars, microbuses and jeeps. Besides they offer transfer service for tourists between Dhaka airport and main city points or hotels.