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Bangladesh allows use of Chattogram, Mongla Ports for movement of goods to and from India

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Bangladesh has allowed the use of its Chattogram and Mongla Ports for movement of goods to and from India through its territory.

This comes after a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was signed and exchanged by India and Bangladesh in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on October 5.

"During the official visit of Sheikh Hasina ,Prime Minister of People's Republic of Bangladesh to India , a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) wherein Bangladesh allowed the use of its Chattogram and Mongla Ports for movement of goods to and from India through its territory was signed and exchanged by India and Bangladesh before the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh on October 5, 2019," an official release said.

"The SOP on use of Chattogram and Mongla ports has been finalised after the two countries signed an MoU on June 6, 2015, and an Agreement on October 25, 2018," it said.

The agreement and SOP permit the movement of goods in Bangladesh through waterways, rail, road or multi-modal transport.

Eight routes are provided under the Agreement which would enable access of North East Region (NER) via Bangladesh.

The routes identified comprise Chattogram/Mongla Port to Agartala (Tripura) via Akhura, Chattogram/Mongla Port to Dawki (Meghalaya) via Tamabil, Chattogram/Mongla Port to Sutarkandi (Assam) via Sheola and Chattogram/Mongla Port to Srimantpur (Tripura) via Bibirbazar and vice versa.

Union Minister of State Shipping (Independent charge) Mansukh Mandaviya said that the decision will pave way for the development of the North East region.

"On October 5, an SOP was exchanged between Indian and Bangladesh. It will open gates for development of North East. We would use Mangla and Chatogram ports for connectivity of North East. Logistics cost will decrease. Cargo used to reach North East by rail and road. Now, cargo will go there by inland waterways and sea route from any part of the country," Mandaviya told ANI.

After the SOP, three landlocked states of India viz. Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura will get access to open sea trade routes from Chattogram and Mongla ports via Indian ports.

Tripura will be connected to Chattogram Port through the Maitree Setu on Feni river at Sabroom in South Tripura and Ramgarh in Bangladesh. While Agartala is 135 kilometres from Sabroom, Chattogram port is 75 kilometres from Sabroom.

"Cargo transportation through IBP waterway route from Kolkata/ Haldia to North East is limited to 2000 ton vessels. Now, larger ships carrying cargo destined for North East can call at Chattogram and Mongla ports thereby increasing trade volumes and reducing logistic costs," an official release said.

On shipping and maritime affairs, India and Bangladesh have had very close cooperation in the last few years.

"Under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, in addition to the five Ports of Call (POC), Dhubri (India) and Pangaon (Bangladesh) have been added and both countries have agreed to add for more POCs in each country," read the release.

"Dredging has commenced under an MOU signed by the two countries on the development of fairway in selected stretches of Bangladesh waterways with Government of India bearing 80 per cent of the project expenditure and the balance by Government of Bangladesh. Cruise services have also commenced between the two countries promoting people to people contact after an MOU and SOP were signed," it said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, October 07 2019. 18:20 IST