New Cargo Transit Route Set to Open Connecting Northeast India and Bangladesh; Chittagong Port to Act as Main Access Point
The governments of India and Bangladesh are soon set to open a new transit and transhipment route connecting Northeastern India and Bangladesh. The main access point will be the Chittagong port in Bangladesh, as announced by Bangladesh’s Minister of State for Shipping, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury. This new route is expected to boost the regional economy by making Tripura the “Gateway of North East.”
Trial Runs Completed and Ready for Operations
According to Chowdhury, all preparations for the transit and transhipment of goods between the two countries have been completed. Trial runs have been carried out, and the immigration and customs formalities on the Bangladesh side are ready. Meanwhile, the immigration office on the Indian side in Sabroom is almost finished and was recently inspected by Chief Minister Manik Saha of Tripura.
The Maitree Setu or Friendship Bridge
The Maitree Setu, also known as the Friendship Bridge, was jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on March 9, 2021. This 1.9-km-long bridge spans over the river Feni and connects Sabroom with Bangladesh. The bridge will enable smooth transportation of passengers and goods from the port. After the bridge becomes operational, it will also help Bangladesh’s trade with Nepal and Bhutan, said Chowdhury.
Revamping the Ashuganj Port
Furthermore, the governments of India and Bangladesh will collaborate to revamp the Ashuganj port located on the river Meghna, approximately 50 km away from Agartala, the capital city of Tripura. “Recently, we have procured land for developing the port. For developing infrastructure like the construction of a jetty and other works, the Indian government has agreed to spend Rs 400 crore, and after it releases the money, full-scale works would be started”, he said.
The Development of Matarbari Port
In addition, the government of Japan is constructing a new deep-sea port in Matarbari, Cox’s Bazar, near the Chittagong port. It is anticipated to be finished by 2027. The relationship between Japan, Bangladesh, and India is cordial, and after the completion of the Matarbari port, a significant investment is expected there, which will assist in the development of both Bangladesh and India’s northeastern region.
With the new cargo transit route between Northeast India and Bangladesh, the Chittagong port will act as the main access point, which is anticipated to boost the regional economy. Collaboration between the governments of India and Bangladesh will revamp the Ashuganj port and construct a new deep-sea port in Matarbari, Cox’s Bazar, which is expected to draw significant investment and further boost the region’s development.