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The Financial Express

Another cargo service rolls out today

| Updated: July 14, 2020 10:25:35


File photo used for representational purpose File photo used for representational purpose

Bangladesh and India launch today another rail cargo service to shift trade of more road-centred goods through this comparatively safer transport system during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, both the neighbourly nations successfully rolled out wagon service.

The planned parcel van service, which has so far been based on road, is being run through rail with the first consignment reaching Benapole today.

Bangladesh Railway (BR) sources said the first Indian parcel train from Raddypalam of Andra Pradesh has already reached Ranaghat with some commodities.

It is expected to arrive at Benapole of Bangladesh through Bangaon-Petrapole border in the morning.

On the first day, red chilli and onions are likely to arrive.

The BR and the Indian Railway agreed to launch the service as they consider goods haulage through train safer than road amid Covid-19 for less movement of people across border.

"India requested Bangladesh for parcel service following increased goods transportation through rail during the coronavirus period," said an official.

The BR gave consent to India's plea, getting the green light from the higher authorities, including National Board of Revenue, in the first week of July, he added.

Amid the pandemic, borders between Bangladesh and India have been closed, leaving import-export trade dependent on rail to ship limited goods through wagon service.

Under the service, one or more parties have to book the entire 42 wagons even if wagons' capacity of 45,000 tonnes of goods are filled up or not.

Onion, red chilli, ginger, turmeric, stone, ash fly and paddy seeds have so far entered the country through this service.

But sources said the parcel service will help traders import more perishable and essential kitchen items and from their suitable stations through train.

As the BR has no parcel van of air-conditioned (AC) or non-AC, Indian rail vans will drop the items crossing the border.

According to the BR, under an Asian Development Bank-funded project, it is set to buy 28 AC vans and 97 non-AC vans which, however, remains stalled for COVID-19.

The BR has been trying to minimise its multi-million financial losses through operating different cargo services in this surreal period with almost all passenger services suspended.

smunima@yahoo.com

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