Direct Bangladesh-India Cargo Shipments to Enhance Bilateral Trade

16 March 2016

Direct cargo shipments between Bangladesh-India were launched on 15 March 2016, with the first vessel sailing from Chittagong Port, Bangladesh to Krishnapatnam Port, India on 17 March 2016, carrying cotton and textiles. A cargo shipment from Krishnapatnam Port to Chittagong Port likewise sailed on 28 March 2016.

The service reduces transport time significantly. According to Bangladesh Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, it used to take 25 days to carry goods to and from India and Bangladesh, because goods had to pass through Colombo, Sri Lanka, or Singapore. Now, with the more direct route it is possible to send goods in only 4 days.

The direct routes are anticipated to boost trade between the two countries. Mr. Q.K. Ahmad, former president of the Bangladesh Economic Association, said coastal shipping is a good move to promote trade in the subregion, including Bangladesh, India's North East region, Bhutan, and Nepal.

Bangladesh ports including Chittagong, Narayanganj, Ashuganj, Paira, Khulna, Mongla and Pangaon (near Dhaka) can transport goods to India's eastern coastal ports in Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada, Krishnapatnam, and Chennai.

The standard operating procedure, which operationalizes the Agreement on Coastal Shipping between the two countries, was signed in November 2015. Provisions include rendering the same treatment to the other country's vessels as it would to its national vessels used in international sea transportation, to keep costs manageable.

 

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