New Delhi (Sputnik) — In a major boost to bilateral trade, a new sea route between India and Bangladesh has been put into operation thereby reducing travel time by one fifth between Bangladesh's capital Dhaka and India's southern industrial hub of Tamil Nadu.
India's Minister of Transport Nitin Gadkari sent off a RoRo cum general cargo vessel M.V. IDM DOODLE carrying a consignment of 185 trucks from the port of Chennai to the port of Mongla in Bangladesh. The consignment is expected to reach Bangladesh within ten days while the traditional land route takes approximately 20-25 days to travel this distance.
"Transport through the sea route will save about 15-20 days of travel time. For this trip alone that involves transport of 185 trucks, a total of about 300,000 vehicle kilometers of road travel will be saved as the land route is longer and much time is lost at the congested Petrapole-Benapole checkpoint at the Indo-Bangladesh border," Indian Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said on the occasion.
Shipping companies expect the cost savings will be anywhere between 20-40 percent.
Another major connectivity project is expected to be operationalized by next year. Bangladesh Railway Minister Mazibul Hoque said that both the countries will jointly restore the pre-1965 status of rail connections. "Currently India and Bangladesh have four operational rail links between West Bengal and western Bangladesh. More rail connections will be restored in the near future," Hoque told IANS last week.
Both countries are also progressing well on the two proposed rail connections of Feni (Bangladesh)-Belonia (India) and Siliguri (India)- Panchagarh (Bangladesh) which will further boost bilateral trade.