In what is being viewed as a historic moment, an Indian container vessel left from Krishnapatnam port near here on Monday for Bangladesh, on a direct route for the first time. This is part of the coastal shipping agreement between the two countries.
Last November, the two countries had signed a standard operating procedure for commercial cargo movement. As per the agreement, vessels from both the countries will be treated as domestic vessels upon entry.
The voyage intends to develop and facilitate coastal trade between India and Bangladesh after the Centre revived the trade agreements signed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi way back in 1974.
Anil Yendluri, CEO of the port, said, "Earlier the shipments from Indian ports being transported to Bangladesh were routed either via Colombo or Singapore. With the launch of the direct service, time taken for such shipments would come down from 2-5 days."
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.
Besides an improved connectivity, the service will play a vital role in decongesting the border points and bringing down cost and transit time involved, thereby providing best competitive freight rates to the advantage of the industry, Yendluri said.