14:29 GMT03 December 2020
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    India has sent its first consignment of exports to Bangladesh via the new sea route between Tamil Nadu and Dhaka. The sea route is expected to provide a major thrust to bilateral trade by extensively reducing time and costs. India also plans to establish similar sea routes with other countries on its periphery.

    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.

    The service has been started under the coastal shipping agreement which was signed in 2015 between India and Bangladesh during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka. As per the agreement, transportation costs would receive 40% concession on vessel related and cargo related charges. For coastal movement through RoRo vessels, 80% concession on vessel related and cargo related charges are applicable in Indian ports.

    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.




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