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21 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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BIWTC needs a pragmatic approach

That two luxury water vessels fitted with modern facilities like GPS, radar and fog piercing ability are incurring losses only indicate to the inability of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), to adopt a strategic marketing approach. The two crafts, named Bangali and Madhumati, were acquired at a hefty cost of Tk535.38 crore with the expectation that with sophisticated features, these crafts would make a profit. Unfortunately, a government watchdog has found that the vessels are incurring losses of up to Tk7 crore each year for the BIWTA. Capable of carrying 760 passengers, these were built with state of the art technology, not compromising on the comfort of passengers.

When water transportation in Bangladesh is a major mode of communication, the amount of losses mentioned is simply unacceptable. There is much reason to believe that this was due to the lack of a long term marketing plan. When these boats were made, the aim was to provide tech-based, modern day communication on waterways. However, it’s safe to speculate that when the vessels were launched, a coherent strategy considering market trends was not made.

Regrettably, the same picture can possibly be seen in many other government funded projects, which cannot reach their service potential simply because a pre-introduction market survey was not carried out. There is no valid reason as to why these two crafts should present such a dismal picture. The BIWTA must immediately chalk out a strategic plan topping it up with an aggressive marketing drive. In Bangladesh now, many multi-national companies hire boats over long periods of time for river cruises, picnic on water and other private functions. Bangali and Madhumati being government owned ships can easily tap into this market offering high end comfort along with impregnable security with the support of the police. Since the ships have VIP cabins, they can easily be included in visit programmes of foreign dignitaries.

 One other option can be to offer the boats for long time hire for any private tours all over Bangladesh. The possibilities are endless; what is required is a practical marketing strategy plus a desire to make the presence of such boats known to the masses. BIWTA may also explore the option of entering into an agreement with the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation under which the vessels can be used for shooting extravagant movie songs against the spectacular beauty of our rivers. The bottom line is that suggestions made need to be implemented following a simple, effective marketing policy.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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