The first consignment of goods from Kolkata arrived in Tripura on Thursday as part of a trial run for shipping of goods from other parts of India to the Northeast via Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi ship MV Shejyoti carrying the consignment comprising 50 MT TMT steel bars and 53.22 MT pulses (in two containers each) left Kolkata’s Haldia port on July 16 and reached Chattogram (Chittagong) sea port on Tuesday.
From Chattogram international port, four Bangladeshi trucks carried the goods up to Akhaura Integrated Checkpost (ICP) (adjacent to Agartala city), where the consignment was formally received by Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
The consignment of steel bars was subsequently ferried to western Tripura’s Jirania while the pulses were transported to south Assam’s Karimganj.
India and Bangladesh had earlier inked a pact to ferry various goods including foodgrains from different parts of India to the hilly northeastern states using Bangladeshi ports and surface roads to save time and transportation costs.
Agartala via Guwahati is 1,650 km from Kolkata by road, and 2,637 km from New Delhi while the distance between Agartala and Kolkata via Bangladesh is just 620 km.
There is only a narrow land corridor to the northeastern region through Assam and West Bengal, but this route passes through hilly terrain with steep gradients and multiple hairpin bends, making plying of vehicles, especially loaded trucks, very difficult, risky and time consuming.