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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Truck from Dhaka traverses 1850 kms through border and Indian States to Delhi - BBIN

In the 18th century, it  was a flourishing town and an important grain market of Delhi, where wholesale grain merchants stayed and large enclosures were built to store grain and ferried across Yamuna River.  In a fight between Mughal empire and Ahmad Shah, much of the town was destroyed during the period. In later history,  it  was the location of the Battle of Delhi, which took place on September 11, 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, between British troops under General Lake, and Marathas of Scindia's army under General Louis Bourquin, also giving the battle its local name, Battle of Patparganj.  It remained a deserted town for some time ~ now it is a busy place – the ‘Patparganj’ ~ and this post is all about a ‘single truck crossing its borders’.. .. historical !!

“History was written at the Inland Customs Depot in Patparganj in East Delhi on 5th Sept 2016,  when for the first time a cargo truck from Bangladesh drove in with a Delhi bound consignment, having come seamlessly through customs free borders,” said an official of the transport ministry. The trial run was organized to help develop the protocols for implementing the Agreement. The cargo vehicle started its journey from Dhaka and traversing through West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, UP, Haryana and Delhi travelling more than 1850 kms to reach the Custom Depot at Patparganj in New Delhi yesterday.  The truck was issued an e-permit for the trial run through an online web based system. This will help establish a customer friendly process acceptable to and recognized by all BBIN countries.

Earlier much water flowed under the bridge, when the  maiden direct cargo trip from Dhaka to Delhi crossed the Benapole-Petrapole frontier.   It was simply a truck laden with container of readymade garments ceremoniously flagged off  at Motijheel depot of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) to be a  long-haul trip on nearly 4000-kilometre roadway between the two capitals under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA).  Sources said the first-of-its-kind direct cargo run completed Bangladesh-side journey of 383 kms in 16 hours and crossed border at Benapole.

Petrapole is the Indian side of Petrapole-Benapole border checkpoint between India and Benapole of Bangladesh near Bongaon in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. Petrapole border is the only land port in south Bengal. It is also the largest land customs station in Asia.  Petrapole is in the district of North 24 Parganas and is about 95 km from Kolkata on the National Highway 35.  This is the largest landport accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh. Hundreds of trucks reach here and perforce have to tranship the cargo to another truck at the land border, for vehicles had not been allowed in to each other country’s territory thus far.  The Petrapole-Benapole rail link was opened in 2001 after being closed for 24 years !

Being the  main land  port to transact business with Bangladesh, there always has been  constant pressure in this port. Sometimes it takes days to get cleared.  This is not the only point and there are some others such as : ‘Gojadanga – Bhromra; Mehdipore – Sona Masjid; Changrabandha – Buri Mari; Hili – Bangla Hili’ ~ and some rail port where only railway wagons get cleared like Ranaghat LCS.

Trade with neighbouring country is always important and in a historic event, the first Bangladeshi vehicle laden with imported consignment rolled into a customs depot as part of an accord that has done away with trans-shipment of goods from one country's truck to another at international border, a time consuming and costly process.     The landmark BBIN motor vehicle agreement moved one step closer to reality after a trial run involving a cargo truck from Bangladesh arrived in New Delhi yesterday without any glitch. The truck of Nazrul Transport Agency and Expo Freight Pvt Ltd from Bangladesh left Dhaka on August 27 and reached the Inland Customs Depot in east Delhi yesterday morning. On August 28, the cargo vehicle reached the Indian border of Petrapole.

The consignment did not have to undergo any customs clearance at Petrapole. It was fitted with an electronic seal that had a GPS tracking device so that the goods could be inspected for custom clearance in New Delhi, its final port of call. The tracking system allowed real-time monitoring of the vehicle's journey. In India, the vehicle traversed more than 1,850km, through the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to reach the ICD in Delhi.

A similar trial run of a cargo vehicle from India was conducted earlier  in November 2015 from Kolkata to Agartala via Dhaka. It clearly appears to be a big day facilitating ease of business transactions with neighbouring Bangladesh. According to those involved in the trade, the  compulsion to tranship goods at the borders with neighbouring countries has been a major and longstanding pain point" hindering free flow of trade.

May be, this can have some impact in our Motor business as well – as some of the truck owners would opt for ‘geographical extention’ to Bangladesh, when truck laden with cargo crosses the border and plies inside Bangladesh.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th Sept. 2016.

news credit : Indian Express, First Post, IBN and ...

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