The first-ever cargo ship, carrying stone aggregates from Bhutan through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route, was formally received at Narayanganj on Thursday.
Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das and Bhutanese Ambassador Sonam T Rabgye, along with the Vice-Chairman of Bashundhara Group Safwan Sobhan, received the consignment.
‘MV AAI’ of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) was digitally flagged off on July 12 by Mansukh Mandaviya, the Indian State Minister for Shipping. It is carrying 1000 metric tonnes of stones of stone aggregates which would have required more than 50 trucks to transport by road.
The ship sailed from Assam’s Dhubri, which was declared a port of call in October 2018, and travelled to Narayanganj through Brahmaputra River.
This is the first time an Indian waterway is being used as a channel for transport of cargo between the two countries, using India for transit, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
Bhutan has been exporting significant quantities of stone aggregates to Bangladesh through the land route.
This time, the stone aggregates were transported by trucks from Phuentsholing in Bhutan, which is 160km from IWAI’s Dhubri jetty, before they were loaded on to the vessel.
Mandaviya noted that it will be beneficial to India, Bhutan and Bangladesh and help strengthen relations among the neighbours.
“Transport of cargo through this route will cut travel time by 8 to 10 days, and reduce transportation cost by 30%,” Mandaviya said, hailing it as a historic development.unb