Aiming to boost trade and connectivity between India and Bangladesh, the first trial movement of vessels between Maia Port in India and Sultanganj Port in Bangladesh on India Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route numbers 5 and 6 is set to take place on today (12 February 2024).
India-Bangladesh relations have evolved across various domains, including political, economic, cultural, and strategic ties over the years.
The vessels will be flagged off by the Minister of State for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Shantanu Thakur, from Maia Inland Customs Port in West Bengal.
This development is in line with the Act East Policy of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
The waterway route from Maia (IBP route) to Dhubri (NW-2) via Aricha will reduce the distance by around 930 kilometres compared to the existing waterway route from Dhulian-Maia-Kolkata-IBP-Dhubri. With this move, 2.6 MTPA of export cargo to Bangladesh is expected to shift from road to waterways.
The riverine distance between Port of Call Maia in India and Port of Call Sultanganj in Bangladesh is 16km, out of which 4.5km of waterways are in India and the rest 11.5km are in Bangladesh.
The flagging-off event will be attended by transport and state transport ministers of the West Bengal government, along with the member of Parliament from Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency and members of the state legislature from Raghunathganj and Lalgola legislative constituencies, as well as other dignitaries.
Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, paid a state visit to India from 5-8 September 2022 at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi. During the visit, the two sides agreed to expeditiously explore direct shipping links between the two countries.
They also agreed to implement the decision to start riverine services under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade routes 5 and 6 (Dhulian to Rajshahi -extension to Aricha) and 9 and 10 (Daudkandi to Sonamura).
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