On July 16, 2020, Union Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) Mansukh Mandaviya flagged off the first trial container ship,‘MV Shejyoti’ from Kolkata (West Bengal) to Agartala (Tripura) through Chattogram Port of Bangladesh in a virtual ceremony. This will not only provide an alternative and shorter route for India to connect it’s North East Region (NER) through Bangladesh but will also further boost India-Bangladesh maritime relations.
- This has been done under the Agreement on use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for movement of India’s transit cargo through Bangladesh, the standard operating procedure (SOP) for which was signed and exchanged between both nations during the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visit to India in October 2019. This SOP followed the signing of MoU on June 6, 2015, and an Agreement on October 25, 2018.
- After SOP, the landlocked states of India viz. Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura got access to 8 open sea routes from Chattogram and Mongla ports via Indian routes.
Consignment of trial movement:
The consignment of the trial movement included two TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) carrying TMT (Thermo Mechanical Treatment) steel bars destined for West Tripura district and two TEUs carrying pulses destined for Karimganj, Assam. After reaching Chattogram, the consignment will move to Agartala on Bangladeshi trucks.
Benefits of this route:
Benefit to India: It will reduce transportation time and cost for India. Currently, cargo used to reach the North East by rail and road. Now, cargo will go there by inland waterways and sea route from any part of the country,
Benefit to Bangladesh: Job creation, investment in the logistical sector, enhanced business services and revenue generation are advantages that will accrue to Bangladesh.
Indo-Bangla cooperation in shipping and inland water trade
-Under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, in addition to the six existing Ports of Call, five more in each country have been added recently.
-Dredging of inland waterway routes is ongoing under a MoU signed by the two countries on development of a fairway in selected stretches of Bangladesh waterways.
Currency– Bangladeshi taka
President– Mohammad Abdul Hamid