App-based ride-sharing services is not something new in Bangladesh. What’s new is: cargo ships can now be rented from home, using Jahaji, a mobile application.
The mobile app, Jahaji, aims at making it easy for the inland water transport stakeholders such as ship owners, suppliers, buyers, agents, carriers, brokers and buyers to book and track a lighter-ship, including bulkhead, cargo, and coaster across Bangladesh.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inaugurated the app in a programme at Jatiya Press Club in the capital on Sunday.
He said stakeholders in the shipping industry will now be able to get rid of hassles involved in this business.
The app will provide information of ships, thereby dissolving confusion regarding the rent, he added.
Jahaji Limited, the private organisation that introduced the app, is a brain child of three friends: Kajal Abdullah, Avinondon Joardar, and Sheikh Bahauddin Rupok.
One of the entrepreneurs, Kajal Abdullah, said that his organisation will provide information and technological services to the maritime industry with a view to shaping the shipping sector in Bangladesh.
One will be able to rent a ship after confirming his desired rent, location and capacity through their app. Not only that, soon after subscribing for tracking service, ships owners; carriers; and suppliers will able to know the updated information of their trips, he said.
He said, “As per government estimate, 7,500 lighter ships carry goods in the country. But according to a private estimate, there are more than 20,000 lighter ships.” “Every year, goods worth more than Tk3, 000 crore are transported through this mode of communication across the country. But this sector remains very disorganised and risky.”
He believes that the app will be able to bring discipline in the maritime industry.
When asked how they started on the initiative, Kajal, who worked in a different sector earlier, said, “After leaving the job, I started working as a supplier in the maritime industry. Then I realised that this industry was disorganised. People involved in the industry also lacked vision.”
Kajal then felt like doing something to bring discipline in the sector. His friend Avinondon had been involved in this trade for a long time; they started gathering data, and did research on the maritime industry for one and a half years. At the end of 2018, they came up with the conclusion that the sector has a huge potential.
Soon they started working on a plan, and came up with the app project, which is the first, and so far, the only inland water transport management solution in Bangladesh, he said.
At the app launching ceremony, Sheikh Bahauddin Rupok, also the chairperson at the Jahaji Limited, said that there are many parties involved in carrying goods through inland water routes, but this sector still maintains the old tradition.
In absence of verified information, there prevails a lack of trust among the stakeholders in the sector, he said, adding that the app would help disolve confusion, bringing discipline and boosting business in the sector.
The app is currently available in Google Play Store, and will soon be available in Apple Store, he told the programme.