The new multimodal transport route will not only alleviate logistical challenges but also open up new opportunities for economic development in the northeast region of India.
The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata has signed an agreement with Saif Powertec Ltd (SPL) in Bangladesh to establish a new multimodal transport route.
This route will connect the riverine port with northeast India through Chattogram, Mongla Ports, and Pangaon Inland Container Terminal.
As part of the partnership, SPL will introduce two dedicated vessels for containerised cargo using the Indo-Bangladeshi Protocol route.
According to Rathendra Raman, the chairman of the port, the establishment of a steady liner service for containerised vessels on riverine and sea routes, along with efficient handling facilities at the ports, will encourage traders from both India and Bangladesh to regularly transport goods via waterways.
The Pangaon Inland Container Terminal currently handles an annual container volume of 116,000 tonne equivalent units (TEUs).
Samrat Rahi, the deputy chairman of SMP Kolkata operation, stated that the Bangladeshi company will deploy two dedicated vessels within the next 3-4 months, reports Economic Times. This move is expected to encourage other companies to bring more vessels to this route.
The initiative mentioned will not only reduce the time and cost of transporting cargo from mainland India to northeastern states, but it will also provide an alternative route that avoids the congested Siliguri and Guwahati corridors.
This development is expected to have a positive impact on trade and commerce between India and Bangladesh, as well as contribute to the economic growth of the northeast region.
According to officials, the distance between Kolkata and Agartala is approximately 1,619 km via Siliguri, but only around 575 km via Chattogram port.
Travelling by road, currently takes 6-7 days to cover the distance via Siliguri, but using the Chattagram port route would reduce the travel time to 4-5 days from Kolkata port. This significant reduction in travel time will greatly benefit the transportation of goods and improve efficiency.
In FY 2022-23, the Kolkata Port achieved a total cargo volume of 65.66 million metric tonnes. The port has set a target of reaching 70 million metric tonnes in the upcoming fiscal year.
The official also mentioned that the port’s capacity is expected to double within four to five years, through the mechanisation of its facilities.
Additionally, the facility is in the process of establishing a new terminal project at Balagarh, located 85 km upstream of the Hooghly River.
This terminal aims to provide convenient cargo access for the northeastern states.
Furthermore, a 60-acre logistic park with modern amenities is being developed in Kolkata, which is anticipated to greatly benefit the state’s logistics sector.
Overall, the new multimodal transport route is expected to be a game-changer for trade and commerce between India and Bangladesh. It will not only alleviate logistical challenges but also open up new opportunities for economic development in the northeast region of India.