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India may allow coastal shipping to Bangladesh: official

Publication Date : 30-09-2012


India is likely to allow its three ports for transportation of goods along coastal routes to Bangladesh, an official said yesterday.

The ports are Paradip of Odisha, Visakha-patnam of Andhra Pradesh and Haldia of Pashimbanga, said Commodore Jobair Ahmad, the department's director general, following a top level meeting in India.

Bangladesh had earlier tabled the idea of using the coastal belt of the Bay of Bengal to transport goods between the two countries, on grounds of time- and cost-efficiency.

At present, local importers have to go through a two-week wait to take delivery of their imported wares, as they come via Sri Lanka, Singapore or Malaysia, according to Ahmad.

“But drawing coastal routes to carry freight between the two countries will allow us to cut time to three days, and thereby, costs,” said Ahmad.

"We expect the prices of commodities imported from India to drop," he added.

Earlier, local shippers proposed to the government to strike a deal to carry goods through the coast of Bay of Bengal, to use the country's 2,000 cargo ships, many of which remain unused.

"We had a very fruitful discussion. They [India] have agreed that 50 per cent of the vessels will be from India," said Ahmad.

Ahmad notified that his Indian counterpart is due in Dhaka next month for further discussions on the issue.

On Thursday, Ahmad, along with five other senior officials, met with the chairman of Paradip Port Trust S Ananta Chandra Bose, to propose the use of inland vessels with 2000-tonne capacity from Paradip to Chittagong and Mongla ports, reports the Times of India.

"The port is near Bangladesh and it has a deep harbour. It will help us transport gypsum, food items and other goods easily, compared to the ports in Haladia and Visakhapatnam," Ahmad said.


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