Kolkata: Commercial shipment of cargo vessels carrying essential food grains and infrastructure materials using Bangladesh waterways will begin by October 2023.
Trial shipment of cargo to connect the north eastern states with the rest of India using two major Bangladeshi ports has been completed.
The fourth and final trial run to connect Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh to north eastern states via India-Bangladesh Protocol Route was completed on Monday after a container carrying tea from Assam reached Kolkata docks via land and sea ports of Bangladesh.
The trial runs were aimed at connecting Bangladesh’s land and sea ports — Mongla, Tamabil, Chattogram, Seola and Bibirbazar — with the north eastern states.
“The trials were supposed to be completed by December but it is completed well ahead of schedule,” L Haranadh, chairman of Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port, said.
Haranadh said the initiative will help to boost business flow to the northeast India states on inland waterways via the India-Bangladesh Protocol Route and help reduce the cost of freight.
The Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port, formerly the Kolkata Port Trust, was entrusted with executing the trial runs via the protocol route.
The decision to conduct these trials was taken at the 13th India-Bangladesh Joint Group of Customs meeting held in March this year.
The trial run of Indian cargo to and from West Bengal to north eastern states like Tripura, Assam, and Meghalaya was successfully carried out during the last couple of months.
It would also be worth mentioning that India offered a grant to Bangladesh to support dredging to smoothen the movement of vessels.