Cargo Transport Trial Run Starts under BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement
1 November 2015
The Government of India flagged off the first cargo truck under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) on 1 November 2015 for a trial run from Kolkata in India's West Bengal state to Agartala in Tripura state, passing through Dhaka, Bangladesh. The cargo vehicle, a DHL Global Forwarding truck, traveled a distance of around 640 kilometers (km), reaching Agartala on 3 November.
The traditional route from Kolkata to Agartala would take a truck on a journey of some 1,550 km, but following the new shorter route of only 640 km through Dhaka, enabled by the BBIN MVA, means that trucks can now reach their destination in less than half the time of previously. A further150 km is due to be cut off the distance upon completion of a bridge in Bangladesh.
The DHL truck was tracked electronically using an electronic seal that would alert regulators if the container door was opened. The permits secured were issued online and sent electronically across all land ports. The truck traveled with a Senior Customs Superintendent.
According to Mr. Chibber, this pilot run will help member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) finalize the protocols that are to be followed in regional transport, and also create an awareness of challenges in cross-border road connectivity.
The next phase of the project will be a pilot run to Bhutan. The 1st Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Friendship Motor Rally 2015 is also scheduled to be held from 14 November to 1 December, covering a distance of 4,500 km in 19 days, with around 22 participating vehicles.
Transport ministers of the BBIN countries signed the BBIN MVA last June 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan. A follow-up meeting on September 2015 agreed on the substantive contents of the proposed BBIN MVA protocols.
The BBIN MVA aims to facilitate passenger, personal, and cargo vehicular cross-border traffic between and among the four countries to reduce costly and time-consuming transshipment of people and goods at border crossings, and create opportunities for greater economic exchanges along designated key trade routes in the four countries. The Asian Development Bank is the acting Secretariat of the BBIN platform.