Bangladesh’s Padma Bridge project

I recently visited Bangladesh’s Padma Bridge project, a six-kilometre bridge south of the country’s capital Dhaka. China Major Bridge Engineering and Sinohydro are the main contractors. I hired a speedboat to get close to the crane ships where it’s easy to spot the Chinese engineers working alongside their Bangladeshi colleagues. The ships themselves are from China and flying Chinese flags. The project will connect garment factories near Dhaka with the southwestern Mongla port. I later spoke with a supplier to a major European clothing brand who expects to see a small but growing share of his garment exports shipped via Mongla rather than Chittagong port once the bridge is completed. Perhaps more important is how the bridge influences long-standing discussions on where Bangladesh might yet build its first deep water port.