First cargo vessel from Kolkata arrives at Dhaka river port

Dhaka, Feb 18 (IANS) Paving way for direct cargo vessel movement between India and Bangladesh, the first container ship from Kolkata arrived at Dhaka’s Panagon river port, media reports said.

The ‘Shonartori Nou Kalyan-1’ reached the Pangaon Inland Container Terminal at Keraniganj upazila on Friday with 65 containers on board, bdnews24.com reported.

With this — the bilateral ‘Coastal Shipping Agreement’ signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in 2015, which allows direct movement of ships at sea between the two countries — came into effect.

It has helped in improving connectivity between the two neighbours by reducing shipping time from 30-40 days to 4-10 days.

The inauguration of unloading 65 containers from the ship was witnessed by Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid and other dignitaries.

Ahmed said that cargo ships will now reach and depart from Pangaon to India every 15 days, adding that buyers from home and abroad would be benefited from the operation of the Pangaon container terminal.

Welcoming the arrival of the container ship, Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla in a message said: “For the first time a ship carrying cargo has sailed from Kolkata to Pangaon which is just over 20 km from Dhaka.”

“Today’s event is significant as so far, the movement of ships was limited between seaports like Chittagong and Visakhapatnam,” the Daily Star quoted Shringla as saying.

For his part, Bangladeshi Shipping Minister Khan said that the link between the Pangaon terminal and India will save time and money. “The shipping ministry is in the process to procure 36 more ships to boost the use of this network.”

–IANS

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