Diplomatic Correspondent: Bangladesh has agreed to allow Bhutan to use six more ports including Aricha, Chilmari, Sirajganj, Mongla, Chattogram and Payra Port under the port of call arrangement.
The development came at a meeting between the Bangladeshi and Bhutanese delegation in Dhaka earlier last week, reports Bhutanese daily Kuensel on 1 June.
A port of call is a place to stop for a while to load and unload consignments.
These ports of call will be formalised upon the signing of the revised standard operating procedure (SOP) between the two countries, according to a press release from the Department of Trade (DoT) of Bhutan.
The new provisions were agreed upon when the Bhutanese delegation met with the Ministry of Shipping and related stakeholders in continuation to the second Joint Technical Committee (JTC) meeting to amend the SOP for the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the Use of Inland Waterways between Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The Bangladesh delegation was led by the joint secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, ATM Monemul Haque and the Bhutanese delegation was led by the director general of the DoT, Sonam Tenzin.
Bhutan has only one port of call as of today, which is Narayanganji in Dhaka.
The Bangladesh government also agreed to consider Bahadurabad as an extended port of call for Chilmari, the DoT release stated.
The press statement added that currently extended port of call at Bahaduradad has no custom services but the exporters can still facilitate loading and unloading after completing customs formalities at Chilmari.
The agreement and the amendment of the SOP with the new ports of call are expected to provide alternative export and import transit routes and modes of transportation for the private sector, it added.
It would also help to promote, facilitate, expand and deepen trade relations between Bhutan and Bangladesh and complement the Preferential Trade Agreement that will come into effect from July 1.
The press release stated that the meeting finalised the text of the agreement and its protocol. “The agreement and protocol will be tabled at the Commerce Secretary Level Meeting of the two governments for endorsement and subsequently to the Parliament (Bhutanese) for ratification.”
Once ratified by the two respective countries, Bhutan can facilitate the movement of goods in transit (both imports and exports) through Bangladesh including the exit through the seaports of Mongla, Payra and Chattogram.
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