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The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস

Sultanganj-Maia route opens to enhance river connectivity between Bangladesh, India

Published: 16:00, 12 February 2024

Sultanganj-Maia route opens to enhance river connectivity between Bangladesh, India

The transportation of cargo ferries between Bangladesh and India has started, operating from the Sultanganj Ferry Terminal in Godagari upazila in Rajshahi to the Maia Ferry Terminal in Murshidabad, India. 
This initiative follows the shipping protocol established between the two nations and aims to strengthen trade and commerce between Bangladesh and India.
Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma joined State Minister of Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation, at the inauguration on Monday. 
In his remarks at the ceremony, the Indian high commissioner highlighted the new river route as part of the growing economic and connectivity links between India and Bangladesh and a visible symbol of the recent transformation of their relations.
He stressed the importance of multimodal connectivity in unlocking the true potential of bilateral cooperation and described the re-opening of the Maia-Sultanganj river route as a step that will
not only benefit the local economies on the two sides of the border but will also contribute to national economies and strengthen sub-regional cooperation and integration.
Pranay Verma noted that India was Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia. He hoped that better connectivity links and new measures like trade in Indian Rupee will further enhance Bangladeshi exports to India.
Talking about other forward-looking initiatives, Verma noted the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) between India and Bangladesh, for which negotiations are going to start soon.
The inauguration of the Sultanganj, Godagari Port of Call and the flagging-off of a cargo vessel from Sultanganj (Bangladesh) to Maia (India) marks the first of the five trial movements of cargo vessels between Maia Port in India and Sultanganj, Godagari Port of Call in Bangladesh on Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route 5&6.
There is significant potential for cargo movement through this IBP Route, which is expected to give new impetus to the Inland Waterways ecosystem in both countries.
Exporter Bashir Ahmed said that on the first day, 11,700kg of garment waste were sent in 310 bags on a trial basis. 
“Earlier, we used to send them to India through Burimari and Sonamasjid ports. This time, we used the new route. We are expecting it will take less time, about one and a half hours. Hopefully, it will cost less time and money,” he said.
Trade between the Sultanganj-Maia and Godagari-Lalgola river terminals of India lasted until the Indo-Pak war in 1965. 

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