Poor infrastructures and traffic congestions are among the problems that are severely affecting trade through Benapole land port, a major gate on Bangladesh-India border.
Officials and businessmen said productions in garment and other factories in the country are seriously hampered as goods released from the port cannot be transported to their destinations in time.Besides, they said those who travel to India and return home face troubles as they get stuck on the road for hours together due to traffic jam.
According to port officials, 500-600 truckloads of goods are exported and imported through this important land port.
Severe traffic congestions are created at the port as it does not have a truck terminal of its own, they said.
Locals said, be it day or night, there is always traffic jam of goods-laden vehicles along the Benapole road.
Trucks laden with imported goods released from the port as well as buses of ‘Souhardya Paribahan’ carrying passengers travelling between India and Bangladesh remain stuck for hours, they said.
Although the port authority has made arrangements in their own area for the maintenance of truck and bus chassis imported from India, there is no improvement in sight in the chaotic situation.Mofizur Rahman Sujon, president of Benapole C&F Agents Association, said importers import around 80 percent of raw materials for mills and factories through Benapole. Seventy percent of export-import over land takes place through this port, he said.
On completion of formalities, a goods consignment from Kolkata moving through Petrapole land port can enter Benapole land port in just four hours’ time. Trucks with Bangladeshi goods exported from Benapole port take almost the same time to reach Kolkata, he said.
Every year, the government earns Tk 5,500 crore of revenue from this port. The trade between Bangladesh and India is being hampered for of lack of infrastructural facilities and bad traffic at the port.
Giasuddin, manager of Benapole Shaymoli Paribahan, said it takes 6 hours to reach Dhaka from Benapole but one remains stuck for two hours due to the traffic jam at Benapole port, making it hard for passengers to reach their destination in time.
According to Giasuddin, this traffic jam has been an order of the day here as the port does not have its own terminal while empty trucks are parked haphazardly.
Nuruzzaman Liton, vice president of Benapole Import-Export Association, said 1 to 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of goods are kept at Benapole port against its capacity of 30,000 metric tonnes.
Due to the space crisis, he said, the trucks that come from India with imported goods have to wait in the port area day after day for unloading, causing huge financial losses to importers and affecting the government’s revenue earnings.
In the current financial year, the government’s revenue shortfall hit Tk 800 crore (as of Sept). If the infrastructure at the port could be developed, the revenue that is earned today can be doubled, according to Nuruzzaman.
Abdul Jalil, deputy director (traffic) at the port, said a 25-acre land has been acquired for the parking of vehicles which may reduce the traffic congestions.