In an effort to reduce logistics costs and make India-Bangladesh
trade more competitive, the Union Shipping Ministry has proposed the inclusion
of Pangaon river terminal near Dhaka in the bilateral protocol for inland water
trade, during the upcoming secretary-level talks.
container terminal is located 20 km from Dhaka. Currently Kolkata port in West
Bengal; Mongla, Narayanganj, Ashugunj in Bangladesh; and Karimgunj in Assam are
listed in the protocol.
propose inclusion of Pangaon terminal in the protocol during the annual
secretary-level meet, which is expected shortly. We expect the proposal to
receive the support of the Bangladesh government as it would help transport
goods at a cheaper cost between Kolkata and Dhaka,” Gopal Krishna, Secretary
He was in Kolkata to assess the progress of the World Bank-aided
Ganga Jal Marg project and flag-off two tug-barge flotillas, each of which can
carry nearly a rake load of cargo, to cater to the Bangladeshi demand for
fly-ash for land-filling purposes.
Resolving Logistics hurdles
Bangladesh is the ninth largest importer of Indian goods, the dominance of
non-containerised road cargo (largely through the congested Petrapole-Benapole
border) coupled with lack of uniformity in axel-load restrictions makes
India-Bangladesh trade costly.
also be the major reason for the slow growth in official bi-lateral trade,
which, after being stagnant for two consecutive years, registered an 11 per
cent growth to $7.5 billion in 2016-17.
The high cost
of formal trade has led to a high volume of informal trade, resulting in
revenue loss to Bangladesh.
can be solved by containerising and shifting road cargo to cheaper rail and
inland river transport.
ignoring these issues for long, India is now working on them. To boost container
train service between the two nations, India has approved ₹40 crore for
a transhipment hub at Ishwardy in Bangladesh across the Gede-Darshana
is the cheapest mode of transport and attracts a high volume of the domestic
cargo movement in Bangladesh. With the ₹5,369-crore Jal Marg project under implementation and Kolkata
emerging as a multi-modal transport hub, India is now keen to tap this
Joint river dredging
India and Bangladesh are keen on initiating a ₹305-crore
dredging project in Sirajganj-Daikhawa on Kushiyara river in Bangladesh to
promote inland river movement between Kolkata and the North East through
Bangladesh. India will bear 80 per cent (₹244 crore) of the total cost.
Pravir Pandey, Vice-Chairman of the Inland Waterways Authority (IWAI),
following the successful pre-bid meetings, tenders have been invited from
suitable contractors in India and Bangladesh to participate in the project.
On the Jal
Marg project that aims to create a fairway from Varanasi to Haldia on the
Ganga, Pandey said dredging contracts have been issued for the
the six, three proposed terminals at Varanasi in UP, Sahibgunj in Jharkhand and
Haldia in West Bengal are expected to be completed by 2019.