On 21st December 2016, The Daily Star reported that Bangladesh Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali thanked Ms Rushanara Ali, the UK’s Trade Envoy to Bangladesh, for her presence at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh Railway and British company DP Rail Ltd for setting up a 240-kilometre rail line between Dhaka and Payra seaport in Patuakhali's Kuakata. He noted that it was “the biggest ever foreign direct investment” in Bangladesh and observed that this would be the major breakthrough in public-private partnership in Bangladesh.

  • The Dhaka-Payra Railway project is of national importance to Bangladesh. The country needs the new deep-water port at Payra - and the port needs a new double-track direct railway link to Dhaka and the Bangladeshi hinterland. Bangladesh is expecting 7% annual GDP growth, and container traffic is growing at twice this rate.
  • The DP Rail proposition is a fully-funded Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposal. This means it is entirely funded by the private sector and there are no financial guarantees or other obligations on the Government of Bangladesh or the taxpayer in relation to the railway.
  • The DP Rail offer is a “Best of British” proposal, offering British management, equipment, goods and services. It is supported by CRCC of China which has constructed over 60,000 kilometres of railway in China plus more than 10,000 kilometres globally.
  • The DP Rail proposal is fully supported by the British Government, the British railway industry and the Government of Bangladesh.
  • The MoU signing is the culmination of a Government of Bangladesh process seeking Expressions of Interest for the building of the railway as part of the Payra Port project. DP Rail signed the MoU following due process that started in August 2015. The award to DP Rail was vetted by the Public Private Partnership Authority and approved by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The next step is that, in January, DP Rail will commence its Implementation Study. This will cost DP Rail in the order of US$25 million, to be spent over the next 18 months . It will finalise the route alignment as well as the cost of building the railway to standards that are satisfactory both to Bangladesh Railway and to the investors behind DP Rail. It will also consider the requirements of all stakeholders, including potential users, local and national government and all parties along the proposed Dhaka-Payra corridor.

The Daily Star reported on 22 December 2016 that “Sheikh Hasina expressed satisfaction over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between a British firm and Bangladesh Railway for construction of a railway track in Bangladesh.” DP Rail is now looking forward to working constructively with all those across the various branches of the Government of Bangladesh to bring this exciting project to reality.