Industry

India-Bangladesh feeder service begins

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The maiden coastal feeder service between India and Bangladesh commenced on March 23, after facing a minor hitch, at Chittagong Port in Bangladesh.

As per the schedule, m.v. Harbour-1, the container vessel owned by Neepa Paribahan, was to arrive at Krishnapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh on March 26. However, it failed to depart from Chittagong Port on March 17 due to lack of adequate number of containers and a crane fault.

Maiden journey

In its maiden journey, the vessel was to carry 150 empty containers. Due to the crane fault, only 30 containers were loaded on to the vessel since March 17, trade sources said.

When contacted, Krishnapatnam Port officials said they had received confirmation that the vessel would reach the port by early next week.

India and Bangladesh signed a coastal shipping deal during November 2015 to promote coastal shipping, enhance bilateral trade between the two countries and bring down transportation costs for EXIM cargo. Bangladesh imports onion, rice, lentils, cotton, industrial raw materials and machinery.

As per the deal, the vessel would call at the ports of Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Krishnapatnam and Chennai, while in Bangladesh it would be at Chittagong, Pangaon ICT, Narayanganj, Ashuganj, Payra, Khulna and Mongla. The vessel’s first call would be at Krishnapatnam Port.

Congestion

Currently, container goods are moved from and to Bangladesh either through Colombo or Singapore as Chittagong Port does not have a deep draft and hence smaller feeder vessels are deployed. Besides, rapid growth in bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh led to congestion on the road at Indo-Bangladesh border. Hence, the importers and exporters urged introduction of feeder service between India and Bangladesh, said trade sources.

Out of a total of 1.8 million tonnes of cargo moved on Indo-Bangladesh protocol route during 2013-14, fly ash accounted for 98 per cent, which was transported from Kolkata to various river ports in Bangladesh. During the current year, India for the first time used the Indo-Bangladesh river protocol to transport food grains via Ashuganj to Tripura. However, the quantum of cargo has not picked up because of low draft in the upper reaches of Bangladesh rivers and also because of certain non-trade barriers, says a Shipping Ministry release.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:06:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/indiabangladesh-feeder-service-begins/article8393758.ece

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