Shipping Secretary Level Talks in Dhaka

  • Three high-level talks were held between the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh at Dhaka.

The Talks:

  • Shipping Secretary Level Talks (SSLT).
  • 22nd Meeting of the Standing Committee (SCM) under Protocol on Inland Water Transit & Trade (PIWT&T).
  • 3rd Meeting of Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for to-and-fro movement of goods.

Background:

  • Both countries shared the water routes and coastal routes for transportation of the cargo and passengers on the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and Coastal routes.
  • They provide alternate connectivity to the North Eastern Region of India through Bangladesh.
  • Cargo handled by the IBP route on the Indian side has increased to 170%.
  • These meetings aim to resolve the trade issues and to promote Inland Water Transport and Coastal Shipping between the two countries.

Highlights of Shipping Secretary Level Talks:

  • Issues like easing visa issuance, shore-leave facility and repatriation for seafarers.
  • Agreed to declare land route at LCS Radhikapur (Birol) and Hodibari (Chilahati) to extend trade and connectivity.
  • Inclusion of Dhamra Port as a Port of Call under the Coastal Shipping Agreement was considered.
  • Bangladesh agreed to use the Pangaon container terminal for an interim period for transhipment of containers until the Ashuganj Inland Container Terminal is fully operational.
  • A location for a drop-in centre for Bangladesh shall be identified in the next four months near Kolkata.
  • A team from Bangladesh will look into ways to ascertain the technical feasibility and commercial viability of third-party EXIM trade for the benefit of both countries.
  • Bangladesh agreed to extend the IBP route and declare Safardighi as a new port of call under PIWT&T.
  • Both sides agreed to form a technical team immediately to study the inclusion of the Chandpur-Chittagong stretch as an IBP route under PIWT&T.

Highlights of the Standing Committee Meeting On PIWT&T:

  • Bangladesh agreed to form a joint committee to implement a common Automatic Identification System (AIS) on the IBP route for better vessel navigation and tracking.
  • Bangladesh agreed to include the Mongla-Jamtola stretch for passenger and cruise vessels to visit the Sunderban area in Bangladesh.
  • It agreed that the Bangladesh side will submit a proposal for the development of IBP routes 5 & 6 and 9 & 10 on an 80:20 sharing basis which shall be examined by the Indian side.

Highlights of Inter-Governmental Committee Meeting:

  • Both sides agreed to examine the inclusion of Payra seaport in the ACMP for the movement of goods between the two countries and Sabroom via Ramgarh and vice versa as an additional route under ACMP subject to the availability of necessary port, customs and related facilities.
  • Issues like faster berthing vessels/barges using ACMP trade routes.
Posted in Current Affairs.