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Bangladesh, Bhutan And India Collaborate To Promote Trade Using Inland Waterways

A maiden consignment of 1000 metric ton stone aggregates originating from Bhutan left Dhubri, Assam on 11th July 2019 and reached Narayanganj Port Dhaka on 16th July 2019 after traversing through Brahmaputra covering a distance of 615 KM. 

To commemorate this historic event, a Ribbon Cutting ceremony was held on 18th  July 2019 at Meghnaghat Dhaka hosted by Mr. Safawan Sobhan CEO,  Bashundhara Group and attended by the Ambassador of Bhutan H.E. Sonam T. Rabgye, Indian High Commissioner H.E. Smt. Riva Ganguly Das, Commodore M. Mahbub-ul Islam, Chairman, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, officials from Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Board of Revenue, High Commission of India,  the Royal Bhutanese Embassy and Mr. Thuendup Gyeltshe, CEO of Bhutan Stones & Mineral Export, Phuentsholing. 

This mode of transportation will not only reduce costs by a huge margin, but will also serve as an excellent example of economic cooperation and sub-regional cross-border trade involving three friendly contiguous neighboring countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan and India. 

This landmark event is a legacy of the visit to Bhutan by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh in April 2017 and the visit to Bangladesh by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan in April 2019, when an MoU and SOP on Use of Inland Waterways for Transportation of Bilateral Trade and Transit Cargoes between Bhutan and Bangladesh were signed. 

Due to a number of initiatives and cooperation between Bangladesh and Bhutan, the last couple of years have witnessed an exponential growth in trade. In 2018 the total value was recorded at USD 94.15 million, an increase of 67.8% compared to the previous year. Export of boulders to Bangladesh valued at Nu. 2 billion contributed the highest to bilateral trade in 2018 – an increase of 205% to that of 2017. The use of Inland Waterways for trade between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India has unlimited potential. 

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