The Financial Express

Traders find imports by rail thru Benapole more profitable

They face no harassment like extortion

| Updated: September 01, 2020 09:48:10

File photo (Collected) File photo (Collected)

Importers find it more profitable importing goods by rail through Benapole port than any other mode of transport.

Besides, they can import goods more quickly by rail and do not have to face any kind of harassment like extortion.

Earlier, it used to take 15 days to import goods through Benapole port by road, now it takes only four days by rail.

As a result, import of goods by rail is constantly increasing.

On the other hand, revenue of the railway sector has also increased.

If this trend continues in the coming days, the pressure on the roads through Benapole port will be reduced a lot.

As a result, traders think that a new dimension will be added to the trade between the two countries- Bangladesh and neighbouring India.

The Indian government stopped import-export trade through Benapole port by rail and land on March 22 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

Due to the sudden closure of trade activities, 5,000 cargo trucks got stuck in Indian Petrapole port.

Imports started after the trade agreement between the two countries by a parcel van of train to facilitate alternative trade through the joint venture of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, customs, ports and traders with the help of the Indian Embassy.

Currently, import trade of all types of goods in Benapole and Petrapol ports by land as well as cargo rail, container train, side door cargo rail and parcel van is continuing.

Consequently, as the suffering and financial losses of the traders have reduced, the revenue of the government has also increased as the pace of trade has increased.

However, the port crisis is not over. At present, the port has 43 sheds and 10 yards.

Whereas the accommodation capacity of the port is only 60,000 tonnes, goods of double quantity are kept in the port. So traders are facing shortage of space and congestion of goods.

Users of Benapole port said due to the coronavirus pandemic, import-export trade in the port was closed for three months and they spent their days amid difficulties.

Now they are very happy for the increased import of goods by land as well as by rail.

Matiar Rahman, director of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, said traders were counting heavy losses due to the blockade, strike and toll collection from goods trucks in the Indian Petrapole port.

Mofizur Rahman Sajan, president of the Benapole C&F Association, said a powerful syndicate of Petrapole in India, blocked the goods trucks for months and carried out large-scale extortion.

The import trade by rail started amid such a situation. If this continuity can be maintained, it will be possible to meet the revenue collection target in the current financial year.

Benapole Railway Manager Saiduzzaman said in last July, 51,012 tonnes of goods were transported by rail, from which the railways collected Tk2, 80, 57, 920 revenue.

In the last 20 days of August, 26,000 tonnes of goods have been transported by rail, from which revenue of Tk10.5 million (Tk1.5 crore) has been collected.

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