Kolkata-Agartala waterway via Chattogram being tested

Once operational, the route will open doors to new opportunities for both the countries. It will provide an alternative and shorter route to connect India’s northeast region through Bangladesh

July 16, 2020

For the test, a container ship was flagged off from the Kolkata port under an agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for the movement of India’s transit cargo

Under the Sagarmala initiative worth more than US$110 billion, India is looking to leverage more than 7,500 km of coastline and 14,500 km of inland waterways to boost regional connectivity

As Bangladeshi vessels and trucks will be utilized to move the Indian cargo, the arrangement is expected to create new employment, investment and business opportunities in Bangladesh

The trial run comes after an agreement was signed during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister to India in October 2019 and highlights the efforts to strengthen connectivity in the region

Kolkata-Agartala waterway via Chattogram being tested

The Government of India on July 16 launched a trial run of a waterway route from Kolkata to Agartala in Tripura through the Chattogram Port in Bangladesh. For the test, a container ship was flagged off from the Kolkata port under an agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for the movement of India’s transit cargo. Once operational, the route will open doors to new opportunities for both the countries. It will provide an alternative and shorter route to connect India’s northeast region through Bangladesh. The consignment of the trial movement includes two TEUs carrying TMT steel bars destined for West Tripura district and two TEUs carrying pulses destined for Karimganj, Assam. After reaching Chattogram, the consignment will move to Agartala on Bangladeshi trucks.

Under the Sagarmala initiative worth more than US$110 billion, the Government is looking to leverage more than 7,500 km of Indian coastline and 14,500 km of inland waterways to boost connectivity and empower the economy, both nationally as well as in the immediate neighbourhood. Waterways hold the potential to revolutionize the Indian economy by connecting the remotest parts of the nation, while also operational efficiencies. The trial run, which comes after an agreement signed during the state visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in October 2019, highlights the efforts undertaken to strengthen the connectivity between Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India. It will reduce distance and time taken in the transportation of goods, and is a win-win for both the economies. 

As Bangladeshi vessels and trucks will be utilized to move the Indian cargo, the arrangement is expected to create new employment, investment in the logistics sector, enhanced business services, and revenue generation in Bangladesh. India and Bangladesh have enhanced cooperation in shipping and inland water trade in recent years. Under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, in addition to the six existing Ports of Call, five more in each country have been added. Dredging of inland waterway routes is also ongoing under an MoU, signed by the two countries on the development of fairway in selected stretches of Bangladesh waterways with India bearing 80 per cent of the expenditure. Cruise services have also commenced between the two countries promoting tourism and people to people contacts.