India has urged Bangladesh to use Kolkata and Haldia ports for transhipment purposes. The initiative will reduce coastal shipping rates and boost bilateral trade, thereby shifting cargo from the costly land route, and create an opportunity for Bangladeshi garment exporters to reach European and American markets avoiding congestion at the Chittagong port. The proposal was reiterated at a ministerial meeting in Dhaka recently.
Indian customs authorities have already cleared the deck for Bangladesh to use Haldia as a transhipment port. However, Bangladesh is yet to approve the same. At the crux of the proposal is the growing need to augment handling capacities on either side, keeping in tune with growing trade volumes.