Saturday, May 6, 2017

Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports

South Asia has had outstanding economic growth in the last two decades and could grab a bigger share of international trade, but inefficiencies in its ports threaten to hinder progress and stop it from matching other regions like East Asia, a new World Bank report shows. While some South Asian countries took great strides to improve performance at container ports amid a worldwide boom in sea-borne trade, the region as a whole has lagged and its ports are seen as expensive and slow, the report said. The comprehensive World Bank study of the status, structure and deficiencies of the region’s container ports found that if ports in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan had been as efficient as those of Sri Lanka it could have cut shipping costs by up to nearly 9 percent, boosting the value of the region’s exports by up to 7 percent. As China is shifting out of labor-intensive sectors such as apparel, South Asia has the potential to capture a growing share of the global market. This may in turn attract more foreign direct investment, increase trade and create new jobs for South Asia’s growing labor force. "But tapping into these opportunities will require removing bottlenecks in transport logistics, last mile connectivity, and ports in particular, to reduce the high logistics costs in the region” said Jose Luis Irigoyen, Senior Director, Transport and ICT Global Practice at the World Bank.

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