The New Routes from Bangladesh Tested to Save on Truck Miles

  • August 15, 2022
  • News

To encourage the use of the waterways (instead of trucking) The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (Previously, known as Kolkata Port) has completed four pilot sailings to transport domestic consignments to the north-eastern corridor via Chittagong and Mongla in Bangladesh. The contract for this multimodal arrangement was drawn up between government to government agreement in March between New Delhi and Dhaka to initiate the inland water transit and trade protocol.

The suggested lines were Kolkata-Chittagong and Kolkata-Mongla trial routes that have cross-border landside connectivity. The recent sailing of the Trans Samudera consisting of containers for Assam and other north-east states, from Kolkata to Chittagong marked the fourth pilot in the ‘testing the waters’ program.
It is found that the consignment movement from Kolkata to the north-east through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route will decrease transit costs by 25% and time by two to three days, and will also support to develop the economy of that part of India.

The only issue faced in sailing was the natural and infrastructure challenges but the government is working to overcome the problem and the route will soon improve. The liners are providing full support to the inland waterways transport but are also looking at a few incentives from the government.

Mr. Vikash Agarwal, MD of Maersk for South Asia says that to start with, exporters and importers must accept the initiative of moving cargo on waterways and make it a definite part of their supply chain and for logistics service providers, the entire ecosystem must exist from a scalability perspective. He later added that the rail-linked ports, road infra in and around the river ports, good maintenance, seamless customs, etc., will enable the demand and provide a good start for investment from the logistics providers.

In recent years, India and Bangladesh have been working together to accelerate coastal shipping cooperation, as government leaders from both sides see a “win-win” situation, as cross-border trade volumes grow.