Landmark movement of goods between Bengal to north-east India via Bangladesh flagged off
Marking a new landmark in maritime relations between India and Bangladesh, union shipping minister Mansukh Mandaviya virtually flagged off the first trial movement of container ships from Kolkata Port to Agartala in Tripura via Chittagong port in Bangladesh on Thursday.
“Historical day in maritime relations of India and Bangladesh. North Eastern Region of India is now connected by sea-ports of Bangladesh! Digitally flagged off the first trial movement of container ship from Kolkata Port to Agartala & Assam via Chattogram Port of Bangladesh,” Mandaviya tweeted on Thursday.
This will greatly benefit India’s north eastern states by cutting transportation time and cost through land routes to the north east. It takes over 1,200 km for goods to reach from Bengal to reach to reach the north east. Access to the Chittagong port will cut down the distance by almost half, Bipab Deb, chief minister of Tripura had earlier stated.
The two neighbouring countries signed an MOU on June 6, 2015 and an agreement on October 25, 2018. The standard operating procedure (SOP) on use of Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh was finalized in 2019.
“The vessel carrying four transit containers loaded with TMT steel bars will be offloaded at the Chittagong Port. They goods would then be loaded on trailers. From the Chittagong Port the containers will travel through road and cover 200 km to reach Agartala,” said a spokesman of the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata, formerly known as Kolkata Port.
Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam and Biplab Deb, Chief Minister of Tripura have welcomed this.
“A historic moment for Assam & #NE. Shorter cargo route through B’desh’s Chattogram & Mongla ports will boost trade & growth,” tweeted Sonowal.
“It’s really a big achievement for the entire NE including Tripura,” tweeted Deb.
A statement issued by the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port said that in future rice, wheat, pulses, steel and project cargo is expected to be transported to north east region using this multimodal route.