First Kolkata-Dhaka Container Train Begins Today

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New Delhi: The trial run of the Kolkata-Dhaka container train loaded with over 1,100 tonnes of animal feed will be flagged off on Tuesday, senior ministry officials said.

The need for container train services between the two countries had been felt by Indian exporters with growing bilateral trade and capacity constraints that the sea and land routes were grappling with, Railway officials said.

“There is demand for exporting goods to Bangladesh. Among items steel, cement, machine parts, food grains and many others are being imported by the neighbouring countries,” Container Corporation of India’s Chairman and Managing Director Kalyana Rama said.

While passenger and goods trains run between the two countries, this is the first time that a container service will begin. Exporters’ forums had long been lobbying for container trains as they could save time and trade costs significantly apart from making trade safer and more organised.

Container trains are usually used to ferry machine parts, chemicals, automobiles and consumer durables that involve a shorter transit time. The Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor), a PSU under the railway ministry will handle the logistics of the container service.

The train will be flagged off at a Concor terminus near Majherhat station around 9.30am. It will travel 300km through Sealdah, Naihati, Ranaghat and Gede in India and Darsana and Ishurdi in Bangladesh before reaching Bangabandhu West station, 117km from Dhaka.

At present, the bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh is largely road-based through the congested Petrapole-Benapole border. According to some exporters, on an average it takes anywhere close to a month for a truck to reach Bangladesh as it takes nearly 25 days for customs clearance at the border.

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