Monday, 30th October 2017

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Container train to Bangladesh

A container train loaded with over 1,100 tonnes of animal feed will leave Calcutta for Bangladesh on Tuesday morning on a trial run.

By Debraj Mitra in Calcutta
  • Published 3.04.18
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Calcutta: A container train loaded with over 1,100 tonnes of animal feed will leave Calcutta for Bangladesh on Tuesday morning on a trial run.

Passenger and goods trains run between the neighbouring nations but this is the first time a container train from India will go to Bangladesh, senior railway officials said.

Exporters' forums had long been lobbying for container trains as they could save time and trade costs significantly apart from making trade safer and more organised.

Goods trains carry coal, iron ore, fertiliser, cement and other such freight with a longer transit time. Container trains are better suited for ferrying machine parts, chemicals, automobiles and consumer durables that involve a shorter transit time.

"If successful, the container service would have an impact on bilateral trade because it will drastically reduce the transportation time," said Syed Abdul Rahman, the senior general manager (east) of Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor), a PSU under the railway ministry. The logistics major will handle the container train movement between the two countries.

"At present, bilateral trade is largely road-based, mostly through the congested Petrapole border. The average time a truck takes to reach Bangladesh is a month," said Rahman. More than 20 days are spent in customs clearance at the border.

"The train is expected to reach Bangladesh in 24 hours. Even if it takes two days, we will save ample time," said railway officials.

The train will be flagged off at a Concor terminus near Majherhat station around 9.30am. It will travel 300km through Sealdah, Naihati, Ranaghat and Gede in India and Darsana and Ishurdi in Bangladesh before reaching Bangabandhu West station, 117km from Dhaka.

There will be a customs check at Ranaghat, said Rahman.

"The train will return empty, at least initially. But if the trial run is successful, the loss will be offset by the volume of export and reduction in time," said Rahman.

"If the trial run is successful, we will run two trains a week," said Rahman.