New Delhi: The first direct container vessel to Bangladesh from India left the Krishnapatnam Port today as part of coastal shipping agreement to facilitate trade between both the nations.
"Krishnapatnam Port Embarked a historical moment for India's bilateral trade and commerce as the first direct container vessel, part of coastal shipping agreement to facilitate trade between India and Bangladesh, set sail from the port on 28th March 2016," KPCL said in a statement.
The trade agreements signed earlier between India and Bangladesh were revived during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka last year.
"MV Harbour-1 owned by Neepa Paribahan and built by Western Marine Shipyard is the first Bangladesh container vessel to have received the permission from the shipping departments of both the countries," the statement said.
Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd (KPCL) Managing Director Chinta Sasidhar said "the service will play a vital role in decongesting the border points and bringing down the cost and transit time involved, thereby providing the best competitive freight rates to the advantage of the industry".
A standard operating procedure was signed between India and Bangladesh last November to move commercial cargo between the two countries also stating the provisions and procedures to be followed for such movement.
To facilitate easy bilateral trade, many conditions have been waived by both countries.
"The vessels of both the countries upon entry into India and Bangladesh shall be treated as domestic vessels and not foreign going vessels. The provision will play a key role in addressing the traffic congestion at Petrapole (India) and Benapole (Bangladesh) the two border points which pose as one of the biggest impediments to the movement of EXIM cargo," the statement said.
This will also offer to reduce the paper work required at the customs check points and port dues paid at Indian ports too will be at par with Indian vessels.
The vessel and cargo will also enjoy complete Protection and Indemnity (P&I) coverage insuring cargo from the point of loading to the final destination and till the time the parcel reaches the final consignee.
The crews on both vessels are exempted from aligning to international certifications as they are certified as per the provisions of the two countries, the company said adding that both the countries have agreed to reduce customs documentation and other requirements to the essential minimum for the purpose of easier cargo movement.