In an attempt to ease trade between India and Bangladesh, the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust (SPMPT) in Kolkata has initiated a move to transport containers to Chittagong by ship.
The ships will depart Kolkata with large numbers of containers and sail to Chittagong along the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route. According to experts, this will not only save transportation costs for importers but also help avoid congestion along roads.
“A regular service commenced between the Kolkata Dock System (KDS) and Chittagong from Friday. The service was launched by Zim Integrated Services in association with Bengal Tiger Lines and inaugurated by S Balaji Arunkumar, deputy chairman, SPMPT. Chairman Vinit Kumar has played a key role in getting this service started. The maiden voyage by Singapore flag carrier MV Asiatic Moon will help transport nearly 300 containers of Indian exports to Bangladesh,” a senior SPMPT official said.
The primary items exported are ferro metal alloys and garments. Till date, MV Asiatic Moon will be the largest vessel to travel between Kolkata and Bangladesh. It can carry up to 600 containers in a single voyage. So far, only smaller vessels with a capacity of 80-100 containers plied on this route. According to the official, exporters to Bangladesh will now be assured of quicker and safer shipment of products.
“The port and the shipping line are also in consultations with Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) to enable all exporters to get to know of this facility. The more containers per ship, the cheaper will be the transportation cost. This is also an opportunity to ease the pressure brought about by the issues faced by overland routes through Petrapole. This new service will be over and above the existing vessels already plying between the two countries. Hence, it is actually an increase in capacity,” the official added.
Kumar said another service is scheduled to start from KDS to Chittagong in July second week. The vessel, MV Xpress Godavari, operated by Xpress Feeders will carry the containers.
With global shipping players venturing into direct Bangladesh calls from Kolkata, it is expected that this trade line shall be strengthened and the Kolkata port is poised to turn into a hub for Bangladesh trade, he added.
Source:Times of India