Deadlock ends at Benapole
12:00 AM, January 31, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:20 AM, January 31, 2018

Deadlock ends at Benapole

Trade resumes thru' the landport after 5 days

Trade activities through Benapole Land Port resumed Monday night after five days.

The activities had come to a halt on Thursday when the users of India's Petrapole Land Port, which is opposite to the Benapole port, went on an indefinite strike after Petrapole customs officials decided to issue car passes writing the details themselves.

The car pass is the permission for entering the goods-laden trucks on both sides of the land port. In a car pass, details of a vehicle, its driver and helper and the goods the vehicle is carrying are written.

The land port users used to write the information in the form of a car pass seeker.

The impasse was over around 11:00pm on Monday after the high-ups of the customs authorities of India ordered the Petrapole customs station to continue with the old system of issuing car passes.

“We had an intense negotiation with the customs authorities of Petrapole so that the impasse comes to an end," says Probir Mitra, general secretary of the Petrapole Importers and Exporters Association.

"The customs authorities of Petrapole Land Port met our demand. So, we resumed our export and import through the port,” says Kartrik Chakrabarty, general secretary of Petrapole C&F Agents Staff Welfare Association of India.

Aminul Islam, director of Benapole Port Authority, said the perishable goods- laden trucks would be given priority in getting released from the port.

As of 8:00pm yesterday, 375 goods-laden trucks entered Benapole from India, while around 200 trucks entered Petrapole after the resumption of operations at the port, he added. 

The strike took a heavy toll on businesses in both countries as nearly 11,000 goods-laden trucks had been stranded.

Bangladesh incurred a loss of Tk 12 crore as revenue every day due to the strike. In total, Bangladesh suffered a loss of around Tk 60 crore, said Maruful Islam, deputy commissioner of Benapole Customs House.

Of the total vehicles, around 600 trucks had been stranded on the Bangladesh side with goods like jute, jute goods and yarn. On the other hand, over 10,000 trucks had been stuck in Petrapole with goods like industrial raw materials, cotton, onion, garlic, food items, tyres and tubes, chemicals, garment items and spices.

The users of Petrapole port, who have been writing information in the forms of car pass seekers over the years, say if the customs officials do the task, it will be time-consuming as the land port users have already developed expertise in filling out the forms.

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