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SMP Kolkata in talks with Bangladesh Government for dry bulk cargo export

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KOLKATA : To ensure there is no pilferage during transhipment operations of dry bulk cargo during export, officials of the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust, Kolkata, are learnt to have recently got in touch with the Bangladesh administration for establishing a channel of communication for accountability of goods.

The Kolkata Port, last year, had approached the Customs for clearance to start transhipment operations in dry bulk cargo destined for Bangladesh. This will be a first time initiative by the port since it has so far only dealt with liquid cargo during lighterage operations. However, the Customs, Kolkata had expressed apprehension about such a proposal since in case of dry bulk cargo there can be theft while the consignment is enroute to Bangladesh unlike liquid cargo that can be easily transferred from one ship to another without chances of pilferage.

A port official said that the Indian Customs is presently not in a position that it can get information from Bangladesh Customs on whether a cargo has reached there safely and in the same quantity. “A system needs to be set up where information can reach India from Bangladesh about after the arrival of cargo there,” he said. Presently, the Kolkata Port Chairman, Rathendra Raman told that he along with other officials had recently visited Bangladesh to meet their officials from the administration.

He said: “Our team went to Bangladesh. We had a detailed meeting and they requested us that this issue be pitched separately. We have already sent a letter. It’s in the process. Our request has gone to the Bangladesh Authority.”

Earlier, Hitesh Godara, IRS, Commissioner, Customs, Kolkata, had told that it is not possible to pilferage liquid cargo such as LPG or Propane but such is not the case with dry bulk cargo which can be stolen while the ship is bound for Bangladesh. He said that the Indian side of Customs is in talks with their Bangladesh counterpart to set up a mechanism for exchange of information relating to the arrival of cargo.

Sources said that in the Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC) meeting held in Kolkata on Monday, it was highlighted how the Kolkata Port, in recent times, has developed on its connection with the Bangladesh ports due to the improved connectivity of the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route for trade. This route has enabled transportation of cargo to North East India via Bangladesh Ports.

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