News List

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

December 2023

Bangladesh to Roll Out First Phase of National Single Window Services in Early 2024

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) of the Government of Bangladesh is set to open the first phase of its National Single Window (NSW) services to expedite export-import trade. NBR plans to roll out the Users Acceptance Test of select certificate-licensing and permit-issuing agencies for NSW in January 2024.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Ports

June 2023

ADB Approves Tranche 3 for Chittagong - Cox's Bazar Rail Project Phase 1

ADB approved the third tranche of the SASEC Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Railway Project, Phase 1, on 20 June 2023. The assistance worth $400 million forms part of the $1.5 billion loan to build a dual-gauge railway from Chattogram (Chittagong) to Cox's Bazar. Tranche 3 will help fund construction of the 102-kilometer (km) Dohazari-Cox's Bazar section, which will provide connectivity to the Matarbari Port.

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Tags: Rail, Transport, Bangladesh, Ports

March 2023

Bangladesh and Bhutan Sign Agreement on the Movement of Traffic-in-Transit and Protocol

The Governments of Bangladesh and Bhutan signed the "Agreement on the Movement of Traffic-in-Transit and Protocol" on 22 March 2023 in Thimphu, Bhutan. This will open multimodal transit facilities to landlocked Bhutan, providing them access to Mongla, Payra, and Chattogram ports of Bangladesh for the movement of their imported and export-oriented goods.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Transit, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Ports

March 2023

Bangladesh Offers India Use of Chattogram and Sylhet Ports

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remarked that India can utilize Bangladesh's Chattogram and Sylhet ports. She stressed the need to boost connectivity to further grow the region’s trade and commerce and enhance people to people linkages. Access to the two ports would mutually benefit both countries, stressed the Prime Minister.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Ports, Trade, Transport

January 2023

ADB to Support Upgrading of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, will receive a loan to expand the terminal’s container handling capacity and attract vessels operating on important international shipping lanes. The Nhava Sheva Container Terminal Financing Project, signed by the ADB and Nhava Sheva Freeport Terminal Private Limited, is a $131 million financing package.

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Tags: ADB, India, Shipping, Ports, Transport

December 2022

India, Sri Lanka to Launch Passenger Ferry Services

An India–Sri Lanka passenger ferry service is set to be launched between Kankesanthurai port in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and Pondicherry, India, in January 2023. In a special discussion, Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Ports, Shipping, and Civil Aviation Minister of the Government of Sri Lanka, shared that the ferry service would start in January 2023. The Government of India already extended approval of the program.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Inland waterways, Ports

November 2022

Trial Runs to Link India's Northeastern Region via Bangladesh Ports Concludes

The fourth and final trial run to connect Bangladesh’s Chattogram and Mongla ports to India’s northeastern states via the India–Bangladesh Protocol Route concluded on 7 November 2022, ahead of its December schedule. The trial runs were conducted to iron out issues related to transshipment of goods, and align the immigration and customs arrangements in both countries.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Ports

October 2022

Sri Lanka to Cooperate with India on Trincomalee Port Development

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the eastern port district of Trincomalee to inspect its integrated development plan. During his visit, he emphasized the need for India and Sri Lanka to cooperate to develop the Trincomalee port on the country’s northeastern coast.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Economic Corridor Development, Ports, Trincomalee

August 2022

Bangladesh Offers Nepal Use of Chittagong and Mongla Ports

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her offer of access to Bangladesh’s Chittagong and Mongla seaports and Syedpur airport to the people of Nepal during a courtesy call by a Nepal parliamentary delegation.

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Tags: Ports, Bangladesh, Nepal, Connectivity

March 2022

Bangladesh, India Commerce Secretary-level Meeting Highlights Trade Growth, Progress in Connectivity Projects

Bangladesh is now India's 6th largest trade partner. This significant growth in bilateral trade between the two countries was highlighted at the Commerce Secretary level meeting held on 4 March 2022 in New Delhi, India. The meeting held extensive discussions on issues of mutual interest, including development of railway infrastructure and port infrastructure.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Rail, Ports

October 2021

Multimodal Container Depot Emphasizing Railways to be Developed in Chattogram

A multimodal container depot will be constructed in Chattogram City to enhance the port's capacity to handle imports and goods bound for export. Saif Logistics Alliance Ltd. will invest around Tk 300 crore (around $35 million) to develop the facility on a design-build-finance-operate-maintain-transfer basis.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Shipping, Ports, Transport, Rail

July 2020

Commentary: India-Bangladesh Expanded River Trade Opens Up Opportunities for Locals

The second addendum to the Protocol of Inland Water Transit and Trade, which was signed on 20 May 2020 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, added 2 new water routes and 10 new ports of call to the protocol to facilitate bilateral trade. With the signing of the addendum, new opportunities are opening up for small producers and marginalized communities, according to this commentary by Mr. Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Trade, Ports, Waterways

May 2020

Bangladesh, India Add Water Routes for Trade

Bangladesh and India signed the second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade to add two new water routes and 10 ports of call between the two countries. The new routes and ports will improve connectivity, facilitate trade, and spur economic development.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Ports, Trade Facilitation, Waterways

March 2020

Bangladesh Approves Revised Protocol on Inland Water, Transit, and Trade

The Bangladesh cabinet approved the draft of the second revision of the Protocol on Inland Water, Transit and Trade. This draft amends the existing agreement between Bangladesh and India on raising the number of ports of call between the two countries to deepen trade via waterways.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Ports, Waterways, Trade

September 2018

Bangladesh and India Review Trade, Investment, and Connectivity

Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India, and Mr. Tofail Ahmed, Minister of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh, held a bilateral meeting on 26 September 2018 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to discuss matters of trade, investment, and connectivity. The two ministers agreed to undertake a joint study for a potential Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, and fast-track six new border haats.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Connectivity, Trade, Border Haat, Ports, Rail

September 2018

Bangladesh Grants India Access to its Chittagong and Mongla Ports

The Bangladesh Cabinet approved the proposal to allow India access to its Chittagong and Mongla ports to transport cargo to its northeastern region. This will reduce transit time and help traders save costs. International rules and the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade will be applied, as well as applicable laws and rules on freight in Bangladesh. Goods bound for India's northeastern region will be carried onboard Bangladeshi vehicles that will be equipped with tracking systems.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Ports, Shipping

September 2018

Ranong Port to be Thailand's Gateway to South Asia

The Government of Thailand aims to increase bilateral trade with India by developing Ranong port. According to Mr. Tharadol Thongruang, Minister Counsellor (Commercial), Office of Commercial Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi, India, using Ranong port for trade with India’s Kolkata and Chennai ports will reduce distance between the two countries and boost trade.

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Tags: India, Thailand, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Ports, Shipping, Trade, Connectivity

August 2018

Sri Lankan Investors Eye Expanding Bangladesh Investment

A Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry business delegation held a meeting with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority to discuss bilateral trade and investment expansion between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan businessmen expressed desire to take advantage of Bangladesh's business-friendly environment. According to Mr. Aminul, Sri Lankan entrepreneurs are interested to invest in LPG wholesaling, the financial sector, information technology, and port logistics.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Investment, Bilateral Agreement, ICT, Ports

May 2018

Nepal Eminent Persons' Group Seeks to Further Boost Vizag Port Trade Efficiency

A delegation of Eminent Persons' Group (EPG) members from Nepal visited the Visakhapatnam (Vizag) port on 24 May 2018. The team met with Mr. Movva Tirumala Krishna Babu, Chairman, Vizag Port Trust. The Meeting recommended measures to boost efficiency of cargo shipment from Vizag port to Nepal.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Ports, Trade, Transit, Hydropower, Cooperation

May 2018

Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs Emphasize Need to Address Trade and Transport Issues

The 9th Annual Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) on Trade and Transport was held to discussed key issues in transport, transit cooperation, trade, and trade facilitation among LLDCs. Bhutan and Nepal sent delegations to the Meeting. They highlighted initiatives being taken to connect their countries to the global market, including bilateral agreements in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion and the SASEC Trade Facilitation Program.

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Tags: Trade, Trade Facilitation, Sustainable Development Goals, Cooperation, Connectivity, Bilateral Agreement, Bilateral Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, SASEC, India, Transport, Ports, Customs, Roads, Single Window

March 2018

Expansion Work Underway to Increase Kolkata Port Capacity

The Kolkata Port Trust is working to increase the port’s capacity, ease congestion, and reduce paperwork requirements for traders. The port, which handles most of Nepal’s third-country trade, is improving its physical infrastructure and cargo handling system.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Ports, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

February 2018

Paperless Trade Proposed for Facilitation of Nepal Trade via Vizag Port

A meeting between the Government of Nepal's Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Visakhapatnam (Vizag) port authorities, and the Government of India discussed the possibility of implementing paperless trade procedures at Vizag port for Nepal’s third country trade. In follow up to this, the Government of Nepal also held a meeting with its stakeholders on 18 February 2018.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Paperless trade, Trade Facilitation, Ports

October 2017

Bangladesh, India Finance Ministers Sign Third LoC, Note Good Relations

Mr. Abul Maal A. Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh, and Mr. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, India, signed the Third Line of Credit (LoC) from India to Bangladesh worth $4.5 billion, to be used for implementation of projects in connectivity. Mr. Jaitley lauded the outstanding relations between the two neighbors after a meeting with Mr. Muhith.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Connectivity, Energy, Rail, Shipping, Road, Ports

August 2017

Bangladesh to Improve Four Land Ports Crucial to Trade with India

The Government of Bangladesh will develop four land ports as part of its initiatives to increase trade and commerce with India. Around $85.2 million was approved by Bangladesh's Executive National Economic Council to improve the Sheola, Bhomra, and Ramgarh land ports. Another project will be undertaken to modernize security at Benapole land port.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Ports, SASEC, Trade

November 2016

Sri Lanka Ports Authority, ADB Engage Firm to Develop Master Plan

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Asian Development Bank has engaged the Maritime and Transport Business Solution company to develop a National Ports Master Plan to further strengthen Sri Lanka's port sector.

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Tags: ADB, Sri Lanka, SASEC, Ports

November 2016

Nepal's Third Country Trade through Vizag Port Moves Forward

A notification for moving export and import cargo to and from Nepal through Visakhapatnam (Vizag) Port in Andhra Pradesh, India, was issued by the Nepal Department of Customs. This follows the go-ahead given by the Central Bank of Nepal to issue letters of credit to clients using Vizag Port to bring in trade. Furthermore, the Government of Nepal is considering establishing a consulate in Andhra Pradesh to ensure more efficient utilization of Vizag Port.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Trade Facilitation, Ports, Imports, Exports, LLDC

August 2016

Bhomra, Sheola, Thegamukh Ports under BBIN to Benefit Region

Development of infrastructure at Sheola, Thegamukh, and Bhomra land ports under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) initiative for regional connectivity will increase economic activity, according to a feasibility study report jointly undertaken by India and the People’s Republic of China. The report was presented at a National Public Consultation Workshop in Bangladesh on 11 August 2016.

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Tags: Ports, Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

Visakhapatnam Port Inaugurated as Nepal's Second Gateway Port

Cargo bound for Nepal was flagged off symbolically from Visakhapatnam Port in India on 24 June 2016, signaling to traders that the port is ready to facilitate exports and imports as Nepal's second gateway port. A delegation from Nepal is in Visakhapatnam to see through implementation of the agreement and discuss modalities of cargo transit with Customs officials from India.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Ports, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

Sri Lanka Trade Minister Sees Need for Comprehensive Trade Agreements

Sri Lanka needs to immediately put in place a comprehensive system of trade agreements, says Mr. Malik Samarawickram, Sri Lanka Minister for International Trade. In a business forum in Singapore, Mr. Samarawickram highlighted Sri Lanka's efforts to remove certain tariffs and to modernize its Customs system through ASYCUDA and the one-stop shop at the Central Customs Clearance Unit.

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Tags: Trade, Sri Lanka, Exports, Ports

April 2016

Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports Opens New Development Prospects to Landlocked Countries

The Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports, developed with support of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, entered into force on 23 April 2016, after 8 of the 17 signatory countries, including Bangladesh and India, deposited approvals of Agreement. The Agreement aims to promote international recognition of dry ports, facilitating investment in dry port infrastructure and enhancing their operational efficiency.

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Tags: Ports, Trade Facilitation, Trade, LLDC, Bangladesh, India

April 2016

5-year Sagar Mala Project to Help Reduce Logistics Cost

India's Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari announced the Government's updated target to complete the Sagar Mala program in 5 years at the Maritime India Summit. The project will help reduce logistics costs, boost merchandise exports by $110 million, and create 10 million new jobs.

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Tags: India, Ports, Transport, Trade, Trade Facilitation

March 2016

Direct Bangladesh-India Cargo Shipments to Enhance Bilateral Trade

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. The service reduces transport time significantly—from 25 to 4 days to carry goods from Bangladesh to India, with goods no longer having to pass through Colombo, Sri Lanka, or Singapore.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade, Ports, Trade Facilitation

February 2016

ADB Supports Upgrade of Colombo Port through PPP

Sri Lanka's Colombo Port will be expanded through a public–private partnership initiative, with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Sri Lanka Ports Authority and ADB signed a $500 million transaction advisory services agreement for upgrading of the port's East Container Terminal. The project is set to improve the port’s value proposition by bringing leading operations and technology from the private sector.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Ports, Public-Private Partnership, Trade Facilitation

January 2016

Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor to Boost Andhra Pradesh's Industrial Activity

A potential Asian Development Bank loan of $625 million will boost the planned $840 million Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC). VCIC will form part of India’s proposed East Coast Economic Corridor, with 4 industrial nodes expected to double industrial output and improve productivity in Andhra Pradesh by 30% over the next 2 decades.

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Tags: Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor, Transport, Ports, manufacturing, India, Economic corridor, ADB, Make in India

December 2015

India's Sagar Port to Receive Boost in Connectivity

Upgrading 2,000-kilometers of India's Diamond Harbor Road (National Highway-117 and NH-35), linking Barasat and Petrapole through an expressway, and constructing a bridge across the Muri Ganga River to connect Sagar Island with the mainland would facilitate better port connectivity and promote greater regional cooperation in India. An ADB loan is anticipated to support this project.

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Tags: India, Ports, Trade Facilitation

October 2015

Historic Opportunity to Link South and Southeast Asia: ADB Brief

Regional integration between South and Southeast Asia remains relatively limited, hindered by various problems, including bottlenecks in transport infrastructure. Enhancements in road, railways, and port infrastructure, as well as new road and rail links between Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Thailand will lower unit transport costs, reduce shipping times, and increase the quantity of goods, all of which will lead to increased trade.

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Tags: Transport, Trade Facilitation, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Rail, Ports

September 2015

ADB Scales Up Financing for Preparation of Subregional Transport Projects in Bangladesh

The Asian Development Bank has approved additional financing for a SASEC transport project that supports preparation of high-priority railway and road projects in Bangladesh along the Trans-Asian Railway and the Asian Highway network. These transport projects will enhance cross-border traffic, expanding connectivity in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion and forming links between South Asia and Southeast Asia.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Rail, Ports, BBIN

September 2015

Strategic Master Plan for Chittagong Port Unveiled

A new master plan outlining a long-term vision for Chittagong Port has been unveiled in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Development under the plan is expected to increase port efficiency and is estimated to cost around $1.9 billion. The master plan financed through SASEC Program technical assistance funded by the Asian Development Bank.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Ports, Trade Facilitation

October 2014

ADB Extends $40 Million Loan to Indian Port Company

The Asian Development Bank is extending $40 million in loan to Ocean Sparkle Ltd, one of India’s largest port operations and management companies, to expand and improve fleet services. This first private sector investment in India’s ports sector will fuel efficiency, lower freight costs, hasten shipping, and expand maritime trade.

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Tags: ADB, India, Ports