Inland waterways achieved yet another milestone in successfully ferrying containerised cargo to Bangladesh.
The maiden containerised cargo export from India to Bangladesh reached Pangaon International Container Terminal, Dhaka on July 12 via inland waterways.
The barge MV Pruthvi carrying 45 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of sponge iron left from Haldia Docks on June 30 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 grant 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.
Bolstering the PIWTT time and again by both the countries represents the vision for future trade between these two countries as well as with the North Eastern States. The success of landmark container export cargo consignment has emerged as an alternative to roadways and railways for importers and exporters of India and Bangladesh .
Currently, the majority of the exports and imports through the West Bengal region to Bangladesh occurs 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.
In a statement, Adani Logistics said,“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”.
“Containerised movement of sponge iron is a safer alternative as compared to carrying the cargo in bulk/break bulk,” opined Anil Kishore Singh, CEO – Inland Waterways of Adani Logistics.
Containerised cargo movement is an essential addition for making inland waterways an eligible candidate for high-value goods too, observed Adani Logistics.
Prior to the COVID-induced lockdown, the ICP at Petrapole used to handle about 500-550 trucks from India and about 100-150 trucks from Bangladesh every day.
Exporters and importers of both the countries have been in search of alternative transportation options to avoid congestion, delays and multiple handling of cargo at Petrapole ICP which in turn leads to spike in cost.
Bulk commodities such as Fly Ash, Stone Aggregates, and Project Cargo etc. are already being moved from India to Bangladesh using inland waterways.