Expanding connectivity: First cargo train launched to Bangladesh via Bengal’s key border zone

Senior dignitaries from both the countries are expected to flag off the handover, which will be conducted via video conferencing, according to the statement.

NEW DELHI: India and Bangladesh added yet another feather to its cap with regard to connectivity initiative when the first container train to connect the two countries through Petrapole-Benapole border in West Bengal departed on Friday.

This train carried 40 containers of FMCG cargo and 10 containers of fabrics. The exporters from Indian side are Procter & Gamble, Arvind Ltd and Vardhaman Textiles Ltd. The advantage of container is that any exporter can move even one container (20 tonnes) -- it is possible to aggregate traffic of various exporters and send in one train, ET has gathered. Containerization has other advantages such minimal customs check at borders besides safety and security of cargo.

This builds upon an experimental shipment launched by CONCOR and Indian Railways in April 2018, which used the Gede-Dharsana railway border crossing, but the list of goods permitted through that crossing was insufficient to make economic sense, informed sources told ET.


Traditionally, full rake load in covered wagons have been used for transporting various commodities such as stone chips, fly ash, maize, ballast, onions, rice etc to Bangladesh. From this July parcel vans and containers have also been added to this product mix. First rake of parcel vans containing chillies from Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) was made over to Bangladesh on July 13.

The advantage of Parcel Vans is that it can be suitable for wide range of products such as agricultural product, FMCG, yarn and milk powder. A shipment of even up to 500 tonnes can be conveniently made over in parcel vans whereas in case of wagons at least 2000 tonnes are required. With the introduction of parcel vans, it is expected that new cargo which was not being moved by rail will be possible to be transported to Bangladesh by rail, sources said.

Last week the two countries also marked another historic achievement towards strengthening India Bangladesh maritime and economic partnership.
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The first time ever movement of container cargo from Kolkata to Agartala through the Chattogram Port was successfully concluded. The cargo was received on Thursday morning by Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb.

With this, the distance and time taken in transportation of goods for India particularly the north eastern states will get reduced. It will enhance business services and revenue generation in Bangladesh. Logistical sector will also get a big boost.

This movement was undertaken under the Agreement on use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for movement of India’s transit cargo through Bangladesh. This development is in line with the vision that the two countries have towards further strengthening bilateral connectivity and a mutually beneficial partnership
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