The maiden containerized cargo export from India to Bangladesh using inland waterways reached Pangaon International Container Terminal, Dhaka on July 12.
The barge MV Pruthvi carrying 45 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of sponge iron was flagged off on June 30 from Haldia Docks on its trip to Dhaka on Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR).
Adani Logistics Limited in association with Five Star Logistics Private Limited shipped the cargo of Rashmi Cement Ltd and Orissa Metaliks Pvt Ltd.
The India-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Trade and Transit (PIWTT) was signed in 1972 to allow free movement of goods between India and Bangladesh through specified routes linking domestic cargo movement between West Bengal, Assam and Tripura via Bangladesh as well as EXIM cargo movement from India to Bangladesh.
Strengthening of PIWTT from time to time by both India and Bangladesh indicates the vision for future trade between these two countries as well as to the North Eastern States. The success of landmark container export cargo consignment has provided importers and exporters of India and Bangladesh an alternative to roadways and railways.
Currently, the majority of the exports and imports through the West Bengal region to Bangladesh is taking place through Petrapole (India) and Benapole (Bangladesh). Petrapole is one of the largest Land Customs Station (LCS) in Asia, handling a trade of more than US$ 2.5 billion.
“Previously, we had completed the domestic containerized movement between Haldia – Patna on NW1 and Haldia – Guwahati on NW2 (using IBPR). The success of containerized movement from Haldia to Guwahati on NW2 (using IBPR) has generated keen interest with the importers/ exporters of both India and Bangladesh to extend its usage for EXIM cargo movement. One vessel movement is equivalent to 64 or more trucks. Thus, inland waterways provide a competitive alternative to current road-based movement of goods through Petrapole ICP,” Adani Logistics said in a statement.
“Containerized movement of sponge iron is a safer alternative as compared to carrying the cargo in bulk/break bulk,” said Anil Kishore Singh, CEO – Inland Waterways of Adani Logistics.
Pre Covid-19 lockdown, the ICP at Petrapole used to handle about 500-550 trucks from India and about 100-150 trucks from Bangladesh every day.
Exporters/importers of both the nations have been looking for alternative transportation options to avoid congestion, delays and multiple handling of cargo at Petrapole ICP which jacks up the cost.
Bulk commodities such as Fly Ash, Stone Aggregates, and Project Cargo etc. are already being moved from India to Bangladesh using inland waterways. Containerized cargo movement is an essential addition for making inland waterways an eligible candidate for high-value goods too, Adani Logistics said.