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Bangladesh-India trans-shipment trial run likely this month

  • Published at 10:55 pm June 10th, 2020
Export shipping containers
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Both countries have agreed on tariff and charges for Indian cargo to move through Bangladesh

The first trial run of the trans-shipment of Indian goods through Bangladesh will take place this month amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to sources.

After the trial, and based on its outcome, a full phased trans-shipment movement of Indian vehicles through Bangladesh’s roads will get underway soon.

In the first trial, India will carry goods to Tripura and adjoining states via Akhaura and Bibirbazar land port of Bangladesh after they arrive at Chittagong port.

Recently, the High Commission of India in Dhaka had written to the Shipping Ministry, requesting a date for the trans-shipment trial run.

That letter, having got the nod of the Shipping Ministry, is now awaiting a green light from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Roads and Highways Department, on the clearance of which the trial run will start.

State Minister of Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury on Wednesday told Dhaka Tribune that this trans-shipment would benefit the economies of both Bangladesh and India. “In addition, it will enhance our regional connectivity too.

“The Shipping Ministry is ready to start the trans-shipment within a very short time,” he said.

A source at the Indian High Commission told Dhaka Tribune that the mission also expected the trans-shipment trial run to take place by the end of June.

Tariff and charges

Sources in the Shipping Ministry said that tariff and charges for the cargo had already been fixed by the inter-government authority of Bangladesh and India. The shipping secretaries of both countries happen to be leading this team.

“The Bangladesh government will get Tk30 per consignment, Tk20 trans-shipment fee on every ton, Tk100 security charge for every ton of cargo, while the  scaling fee is Tk254 and squad fee Tk50 per container,” a top-level source at the Shipping Ministry told Dhaka Tribune.

Chittagong port will charge the tariff as per its tariff schedule, sources said.

Initially, it had been stated that the Roads and Highways Department would get Tk2 per kilometre, but the idea has been scrapped. Now the trans-shipment cargo vehicles will only pay tolls at the bridges, besides paying some other technical tolls, said the sources.

The agreement

On October 25, 2018, Bangladesh signed the trans-shipment agreement to allow India to use its two seaports — Chittagong and Mongla — to carry goods to and from the neighbouring country.

Such an arrangement, once rolled out, will help India ship goods to and from its north-eastern region by waterways and then by road  through Bangladesh. Bangladesh is expected to benefit from fees charged on such movements of cargo.

The routes suggested for this trans-shipment include, among others, from Chittagong Port or Mongla Port to Agartala via Akhaura; from Chittagong or Mongla port to Dawki via Tamabil; from Chittagong or Mongla port to Sutarkandi via Sheola; and from Chittagong or Mongla to Bibirbazar via Simantapur.

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