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SMP Kolkata inks deal with Bangladeshi firm for pioneering multi-modal transport route to Northeast India

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KOLKATA : Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata, on Monday signed a pact with Saif Powertec Ltd (SPL), Bangladesh, to promote a new multimodal transport route connecting the riverine port with northeast India via Chattogram, Mongla Ports and Pangaon Inland Container Terminal.

SPL, which has entered into a partnership with the Kolkata Port, has decided to introduce two dedicated vessels for containerised cargo using the Indo-Bangladeshi Protocol route.

“A steady liner service of containerised vessels on riverine and sea routes, duly equipped with efficient handling facilities at the ports, will encourage the traders of both India and Bangladesh to avail the waterways to transport goods on a regular basis,” said Port Chairman Rathendra Raman.

Pangaon Inland Container Terminal handles 1,16,000 tonne equivalent units (TEUs) container annually.

SMP Kolkata Operation Deputy Chairman Samrat Rahi told that two dedicated vessels will be deployed by the Bangladeshi company in the next 3-4 months and this will encourage others to bring more vessels on this route.

The initiative will not only alleviate the time and cost of transporting cargo from mainland India to northeastern states, but also furnish an alternative route avoiding the congested Siliguri and Guwahati corridors, he said.

“The distance between Kolkata and Agartala is approximately 1,619 km via Siliguri. However, via Chattogram port, the distance is around 575km. By road it takes 6-7 days to cover the distance via Siliguri, but via Chattagram port, it will take only 4-5 days from Kolkata port,” officials said.

The new multimodal transport route will be a boon for trade and commerce between India and Bangladesh, and will also boost the economic development of northeast India, Raman said.

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