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Bangladesh gave positive response on minimizing delays faced by Indian barges at its ports

Bangladesh government has assured India that it would take steps to address the issue of Indian barges facing inordinate delays in Customs clearance in Bangladesh ports and said the issue could be sorted out during the meeting of Director General of Shipping of both the countries who are scheduled to meet on December fourth. 

 Mr Gopal Krishna, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, said this while addressing an ASSOCHAM meeting held in the national capital with the participation of high level official delegation from Shipping Ministries of India and Bangladesh.

 On the issue of Indian barges facing delays in Customs clearance at Bangladesh ports, Mr Krishna said, "Let me place on record that we had flagged this issue prominently with Bangladesh side." He informed that Bangladesh had shown a very positive frame of mind on resolving this issue, which is to the benefit of largely Bangladesh exporters.

"So we had flagged the issue; they have agreed to further discuss in the Director-General (DG) level talks on December 4," he further said.

In her address at the ASSOCHAM conference, the Director-General of Shipping, Dr Malini V. Shankar, said that while Indiaís trade with Bangladesh has grown rapidly in the past few years, there are issues that need to be discussed so that participation of Indian ships in the coastal trade can be enhanced.

 "The possibility of allowing transportation of EXIM and Transhipment cargo under the coastal shipping agreement needs to be explored," she said.

 "Similarly, the removal of limit of 6,000 GT (gross tonnage) for operation of vessels under the agreement also needs to be explored in order to encourage more and more number of vessels to engage in coastal shipping between the two countries,"  she said.

 She further informed that these issues along with matters like inclusion of certain Indian ports on protocol route will be deliberated by both the countries in the joint shipping committee which is expected to be convened in the near future.

 Addressing the conference, the Chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Mr Pravir Pandey, said that inland waterways has been a lost opportunity in this region.

 "Perhaps, it is time that due importance is given to the development of inland waterways as a viable and sustainable mode of transport and to become a part of wider transport narrative not only in the two countries separately but also as linking the two countries that have historical ties," said Mr Pandey who is also the Chairman of ASSOCHAMís National Inland Waterways Council.

 On engagement with industry from both countries, the IWAI chief informed, "It has been decided that on a seminar will be held in Kolkata along with ASSOCHAM on December three where industry and trade partners from both India and Bangladesh would be invited for a day long discussion.

 Mr Md Abdus Samad, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh, expressed hope for fruitful discussions to streamline policies for the shipping sector in the joint shipping community meeting to be held by the end of next month.

 

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