Bangladesh will allow transhipment of Indian goods via Chittagong and Mongla sea ports from January without charging customs duties and transit fees. The decision, a new development, was agreed upon when Bangladesh shipping secretary Mohammad Abdus Samad met his Indian counterpart Gopal Krishna at the shipping secretary-level talks in Dhaka recently.
Earlier, the standard operating procedures to allow transhipment of Indian goods to and fro from landlocked north-eastern states was agreed upon during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Delhi in October.
Bangladesh reportedly expects such connectivity to open up greater economic opportunities, strengthen infrastructure and boost business.
India will, however, pay duties and taxes as per Bangladesh's tariff schedule for ports. It will also pay fees for using roads in line with the policy of the Bangladesh road and highways division, according to media reports on both sides.
Seven routes have been suggested for the movement of goods and passenger vessels between north-eastern states and two ports.
These include Chittagong Port or Mongla Port to Agartala via Akhaura; Chittagong or Mongla port to Dawki via Tamabil; Chittagong or Mongla port to Sutarkandi via Sheola; and Chittagong or Mongla to Bibekbazar via Simantapur.
Meanwhile, passengers travelling on cruise ships to India and Bangladesh will get on-arrival visas at the ports.
Operations of cruise ships from Narayanganj (Bangladesh) to Kolkata began on a trial basis in March this year.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)