Bangladesh and India today signed the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) for introducing the bilateral shipping service between the sea ports that will boost trade between the two countries.
The deal stipulates both nations to give same treatment to each other’s vessels as they would do to their own in international seas, our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting an official statement.
It is expected to reduce freight time and cost and ease the pressure on land ports
The SOP was signed by the Chief Engineer and Ship Surveyor of the Department of Shipping of Bangladesh and the Joint Director General of Indian Shipping Ministry in the presence of Indian Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.
After the signing ceremony, Gadkari said the coastal shipping accord would enhance bilateral ties by cutting down logistic costs and establishing direct links between ports of India and Bangladesh and doing away with the present practice of routing the trade through Singapore and Sri Lanka.
It would facilitate greater trade between northeastern states of India and Bangladesh, he added.
The dates for introducing the coastal shipping — trade and cruise liner — will be decided at a meeting between the shipping secretaries of the two countries – Shafiq Alam Mehdi of Bangladesh and Rajiv Kumar of India – in New Delhi here tomorrow.
The SOP is a follow-up of the bilateral coastal shipping agreement signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka on June 6-7 this year.
The Shipping Secretaries at their meeting on Monday will discuss issues relating to a Memorandum of Understanding on passenger and cruise vessel movement between the two countries, protocol to operationalise the MoU on use of Chittagong and Mongla ports by India, payment of transit fees and bank guarantees, dredging of rivers in the bilateral protocol on shipping route using the World Bank assistance.