2 Indian ships to arrive at Chattogram this month

Two ships are scheduled to anchor at Chattogram port from Kolkata this month as part of the trial transshipment of Indian goods through the country’s main sea port without paying any transit charges and customs duties.

At a press briefing at the port conference room on Tuesday, Chattogram Port Authority chairman Rear Admiral Zulfiqur Aziz disclosed the information.

He said that the CPA was ready to provide transshipment facilities as it had huge capacity of handling ships.

On December 5, at a shipping secretary-level talk between Bangladesh and India in Dhaka, it was decided that there will be no transit charges and custom duties but administrative fees for facilitating transshipment for the neigbouring country through Chattogram and Mongla seaports.

Shipping secretary Abdus Samad and his Indian counterpart Gopal Krishna represented their respective sides during the two-day talk.

Abdus Samad said only administrative fees in addition to road charges will be taken for allowing transhipment of their goods although no concrete ‘calculation’ was assessed about the administrative fees.

In the day’s press briefing, CPA chairman Zulfiqur Aziz said that the trial run aimed at checking the advantages and disadvantages before the regular transshipment of goods from mainland India to northern states and vice-versa, he said.

CPA would realise the administrative fees to be fixed by the government, he said.

On Indian demand for priority berthing, he said it would depend on the ‘contract clauses of the two governments.’

The CPA chairman also said that the transshipped goods would be kept in a specific yard or terminal before loading them onto trucks.

India had been pressing Bangladesh and was able to convince the Awami League-led government to strike a memorandum of understanding on June 6, 2015 on the use of the seaports, and an agreement in this connection on October 25, 2018.

The standard operating procedure on the use of the country’s two main seaports was signed during prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi on October 3-6, 2019.

India was also allowed to tranship its goods from its mainland to its north-eastern states since June 2016 through waterways under the revised river protocol between the two countries.

The CPA chairman said the port handled a total 30,88,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in the just concluded year with a growth rate of 6.34 per cent.

He said that already Chattogram Customs House set up two new scanning machines to scan the imported and exported cargo.

CPA would also buy scanner, he said.

The chairman said a separate link road would be constructed between the CPA and the Bay terminal by 2025 for carrying containers.

CPA members Md Zafar Alam, Commodore Shafiul Bari, Captain Mohidul Hasan and Mominur Rashid were also present in the press conference.