Barge movement of containerised traffic between Kolkata Port (including Haldia) and Narayanganj in Bangladesh will start shortly with the handling facilities at Narayanganj getting ready, Exim News Service reports.
The service, once started, will benefit the ex-im trade, because at present cargoes are shipped via Singapore and Chittagong just to reach Narayanganj!
The latest development follows a meeting of the Standing Committee of the India-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade held in New Delhi recently.
India agreed to pay Taka 4.25 crore every year, as against Taka two crore now to Bangladesh to maintain the navigability of the river-route used for bilateral trade.
A similar attempt to launch a service to Narayanganj some years ago did not succeed.
When Bangladesh requested assistance to dredge some of its rivers, India asked it to submit a concrete proposal emphasising that the dredging of the protocol route should receive priority.
Also, the tenure of the two-year protocol would be extended to make it co-terminus with the bilateral trade agreement which has a three-year tenure.
And, Namkhana in West Bengal and Angtihara in Bangladesh would function as designated points to facilitate bunkering, Customs, immigration and purchase of provisions for the vessel crew. Also, there would be joint pilotage between the two points.
Bangladesh also agreed to provide transit facility at Ashuganj on a one-time basis to facilitate transportation of over-dimensional cargoes for ONGC’s power project in Tripura.