The NBR has allowed container trains on the Benapole-Petrapole route to facilitate the transport of essential goods between Bangladesh and India due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The container train services will continue till further notice. It will be reviewed after the coronavirus situation turns normal. Customs, international trade and agreement wing of the revenue board on Thursday gave the permission to the Benapole Customs House to handle rail containers on some conditions including conducting 100 percent physical inspection of imported goods.Now, all types of goods can be imported through the railway as the Benapole Customs House got the approval to handle rail cargoes, customs officials said.
Previously, only freight trains carrying bulk cargoes such as stone, stone chips, rice and paddy could be imported through different railway routes including Benapole-Petrapole and Darshana-Gede, they said.
Recently, onions, fly ash, chilli, ginger and turmeric have also been imported through rail wagons. In 2018, a container train arrived in Bangladesh through Gede-Darshana on a pilot basis but the movement did not start on a regular basis.
Earlier on May, Indian High Commission in Dhaka requested the authorities of Bangladesh to allow movement of cargo trains through the route to facilitate the export of essential goods to Bangladesh amid the pandemic.
A technical committee headed by an additional secretary of the Commerce Ministry also recommended the introduction of side-door container train on the route.
Benapole customs commissioner on May 14 in a letter requested the NBR to take the necessary measures for the introduction of rail cargoes on the route, saying that cargo train services on the route would reduce the cost of goods transport by two thirds compared with the cost incurred through transport by road.