The persistent spread of coronavirus in India is lingering the suspension of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) export from Bangladesh.
Export of LPG to India remained halted for around five months since March 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic, market insiders said.
Restricted movement of almost all types of transports including air, rail, public and private vehicles between the two countries has barred the resumption of LPG exports, they said.
Bangladesh initiated exporting LPG commercially to India from the first week of January this year with an initial consignment of around 1,000 tonnes per month.
Two privately-owned Bangladeshi firms--Omera Petroleum and Beximco LPG—initiated exporting LPG to Tripura, the landlocked northeastern state of India.
Both the firms were exporting around 500 tonnes per month each, which they were planning to increase fivefold to 2,500 tonnes per month, chief executive officer of Omera Petroleum Ltd Shamsul Haque Ahmed told the FE.
Mr Ahmed hoped that LPG export to India will recommence soon with the further easing of restrictions on plying of cargo transports between the two countries.
India's state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is importing LPG from Bangladesh under a deal signed between Bangladesh and India on October 5, 2019, in presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the latter's visit to the neighbouring country.
The LPG carrying tankers are shipping the fuel to Bishalgarh of Tripura through Bangladesh's Bibirbazar land border point of Cumilla district on highways.
India's IOC bottles the fuel at its Bishalgar bottling plant from where it markets the product to consumers especially for cooking purposes.
Bangladeshi LPG firms can supply LPG to Bishalgarh of Tripura only within a portion of a day passing only around 200-km distance by road.
Omera and Beximcoare, however, exporting LPG to India after importing the fuel from Middle Eastern suppliers.
India's northeastern states--Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura--have a population of around 60 million.
Many of them rely on LPG for cooking.