Fish and dried fish from Cox's Bazar, as well as agricultural products from the Dohazari-Satkania region, are regularly transported to various parts of the country. The establishment of the new railway connectivity is poised to significantly boost business activities in these areas.
Traditionally, additional costs have been incurred in the transportation process by road. However, with the introduction of the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar rail link, a substantial opportunity has emerged for transporting these products at reduced costs.
Entrepreneurs in agriculture, fisheries, and small industries within this region can now transport goods at nearly half the cost compared to transportation by road. The rail link is set to not only ensure timely delivery to the market, but also to substantially decrease the overall supply costs of the produce. This reduction in costs is expected to translate into lower prices for consumers at the retail level.
Locals say the transportation cost of delivering fish and poultry products from various farms in this region are higher compared to others. Many products struggle to reach distant markets. However, there is renewed optimism among the locals due to the introduction of the railway. This rail link is anticipated to foster the growth of entrepreneurs in the agriculture and fisheries sector.
The Dohazari market, a renowned vegetable market adjacent to Dohazari station in Chattogram, witnesses daily sales of vegetables worth several lakhs. The recent addition of the new railway means that vegetable sellers can now transport their produce to Chattogram city and sell it at more affordable prices.
Abul Kalam, a vegetable seller of Dohazari, said, "It used to cost about Tk5,000 to carry vegetables from Dohazari to Reazuddin Bazar in Chittagong city. It will now come down to about Tk1,500, thanks to the rail connectivity."
The 100 km railway stretching from Dohazari to Cox's Bazar is poised to transform the surrounding region, known for its diverse range of agricultural products, various types of fish, rubber raw materials, salt, and forest products.
Railway officials have indicated that passenger trains will include separate compartments specifically designed for transporting goods. These compartments will provide opportunities to transport fish, dried fish, and vegetables from Satkania and Dohazari. With the anticipated reduction in the cost of transporting goods, it is expected that the prices of these products will also decrease.
Dohazari-Cox's Bazar Rail Project Director Md Suboktogin told TBS that Matarbari is connected with Cox's Bazar just by road. But now, the people of these areas will also be able to transport goods at low cost by rail.
President of Cox's Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abu Morshed Chowdhury said, "This rail link will be helpful for various industries including fish, salt, dry fruits, vegetables. Economic activities will increase in those upazilas that house the nine stations.
Railway officials have announced plans to connect the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar railway with the Matarbari deep seaport in Cox's Bazar in the future. A proposal is underway for the construction of a 26-km railway line from the Chakria section of the railway line to Matarbari, facilitating the transportation of goods from the Matarbari deep seaport to Dhaka's ICD, making it a more viable option.
This development not only opens up opportunities for the transportation of daily consumer goods but also for import and export trade goods through the Matarbari port. Khairul Alam Suzan, Vice President of the Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association, emphasized that the cost of transporting goods by rail is 70% lower and safer than road transport. The connection of the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar railway to the Matarbari port is expected to create significant opportunities in cargo transportation at the port.
Furthermore, this route is anticipated to usher in a new era in the transportation of goods across the seven provinces of India, known as the Seven Sisters. The development of road infrastructure and railways in the southern region of Chattogra,, centered around the Matarbari port, has attracted the attention of investors, making Chattogra, and the coastal areas focal points for investment.