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SOURCE: PTI

India on Monday concluded trial runs for trans-shipment of cargo to connect northeastern states with the rest of the country using two major Bangladeshi ports, officials said.

The fourth and final trial run to connect Chittagong and Mongla ports to NE states via India-Bangladesh Protocol Route concluded after a tea container from Assam for Goodricke reached Kolkata docks via land and sea ports of the neighbouring country.

“The trials were supposed to be completed by December but it is completed well ahead of schedule. The initiative will help boost business flow to the northeast on inland waterways via the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and help reduce the cost of freight,” Chairman of Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port (SMP), L Haranadh, said.

The SMP, formerly the Kolkata Port Trust, was entrusted with executing the trial runs via the protocol route. The decision to conduct these trials was taken at the 13th India-Bangladesh Joint Group of Customs meeting held in March.

The trial movement of Indian cargo from West Bengal to northeastern states such as Tripura, Assam, and Meghalaya and vice versa was successfully carried out, SMP Deputy Chairman Samrat Rahi said.

The trial runs were meant for connecting Bangladesh’s land and sea ports Mongla, Tambil, Chittagong, Seola and Bibirbazar with northeastern states.

India has offered a grant to Bangladesh to support dredging to smoothen the movement.