BBIN sub-region: Potential network of communication and trade

Potential network of communication and trade

Potential Network of Communication

12 July 2019 was an important day for trade and connectivity in the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) sub-region.

On that day, the then Indian Minister of State for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya digitally flagged off the Inland Waterways Authority of India’s vessel MV AAI, carrying 70 truckloads of stone chips from Bhutan from Assam’s Dhubri River Port. set off on his journey to Narayanganj.

Bangladesh He covered a distance of 600 km in four days. Estimates show that compared to traditional land routes, this use of the waterway reduced transportation costs by 30 percent and travel time by eight days.
Since 2019, some significant developments have been made for better utilization of the Dhubri River Port.

It has emerged as a gateway for the export of stones and stone chips from Bhutan to Bangladesh.

Our discussions with local stakeholders revealed that currently five ships with an average capacity of 250 metric tons ply daily from this river port to Bangladesh.
The price of these stone chips is US$ 20 per metric ton. Thus, Bhutan’s daily exports through this river port are worth around US$25,000.

If this trend continues and assuming that exports take place 20 days a month, the total value of stone chips exports through this river port of Bhutan will be around US$ 6 million. This would account for a little less than two percent of Bhutan’s total exports, valued at about US$370 million in 2021, and more than 25 percent of its total exports of stones and stone chips.
More importantly, mainly Bangladeshi ships are used to transport stones and rocks, thereby increasing employment and livelihood opportunities at various levels.

Earlier empty ships returned to India but now they carry back cotton waste and some other products, reducing their overall cost of operation.
Apart from facilitating trade between Bangladesh and Bhutan, the Dhubri River Port plays an important role in enabling trade and connectivity between Northeast India and the rest of India. For this purpose, a pilot trial on this route from Patna in Bihar to Pandu near Guwahati, Assam was conducted in February 2022.
MV Lal Bhadar Shashtri carried 200 MT of rice through National Waterway-1 (NW-1, Ganges) and then to Bangladesh via Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chalmari India-Bangladesh Protocol Followed the route and finally reached the ship. National Waterway-2 (NW-2, Brahmaputra) through Dhubri and Jogighupa where a Multi-modal Logistics Park (MMLP) is under construction.

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