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Kolkata port to undertake trial runs for cargo movement using B’desh ports

The Kolkata port will undertake four trial runs before the implementation of an agreement on the use of neighbouring Bangladesh’s Chittagong and Mongla ports by India for trade, an official said.

The initiative will help boost business flow on inland waterways via the Indo-Bangla Protocol route, he said.

The decision to conduct trial runs was taken after the 13th India-Bangladesh Joint Group of Customs (JSC) meeting held in March, said the official of the Kolkata Port, now rechristened as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP).

It was also decided that ships can carry cargo for both Bangladesh and the north-eastern states of India, he stated.

“We have been asked to undertake trial runs and it has to be completed within six months. All destinations are in Bangladesh,” SMP chairman Vinit Kumar said.

The trials will be undertaken on the following routes — Mongla to Tamabil (a hilly area in Bangladesh’s Sylhet), Tamabil to Chittagong, Chittagong to Sheola (a land border) and Mongla to Bibirbazar.

“Transit cargo for trial run on Mongla-Tamabil and Mongla-Bibirbazar (land port in Cumilla) routes will depart Kolkata on July 30,” the official said.

Maersk Line India has partnered with SMP to do these two trial runs, he said.

“The vessel is expected to reach Mongla on August 5, carrying 16 tonne of iron pipes of Electrosteel Castings Ltd in a container destined to reach Meghalaya using Tamabil-Dawki border points, and 8.5-tonne prefoam in another container for Assam using Bibirbazar-Srimantpur border points,” the Kolkata port official said.

“This exercise will boost an alternative route through waterways for transportation of coastal containers from Kolkata or Haldia to northeastern states, along with other export-import containers to Bangladesh in the same barge or vessel,” Kumar said.

The cargo movement from Kolkata port to the northeast states of India through the India-Bangladesh Protocol route will not just reduce transit cost and time but also help develop the economy.

An agreement and standard operating procedure on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports for the movement of goods to and from India have been signed by the two countries.

Kumar said both the Inland Waterways Authority of India and SMP, Kolkata have undertaken several infrastructural development projects that will further smoothen environmental friendly cargo movement via the national waterways to NE states and Bangladesh.
Source: PTI

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