POST TIME: 17 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Promoting trade through waterways
Bangladesh to sign SOP with Bhutan

Bangladesh to sign SOP with Bhutan

Bangladesh is going to sign a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with Bhutan for promoting bilateral trade and day to day commercial operation of vessels between the two friendly nations.

 For signing the SOP, the ministry of foreign affairs has sought the opinion of the ministries and divisions concerned for finalising it, sources in the ministry of foreign affairs said.

Talking to The Independent, a senior official said the ministry of foreign affairs of the Royal Government of Bhutan has sent a draft SOP to the Bangladesh ministry of foreign affairs recently for approval. “After receiving the draft

SOP, the ministry of foreign affairs  

sent it to different ministries and divisions for seeking their opinion,” he added.

“The draft SOP would be signed as per the memorandum of understanding on use of inland waterways for transportation of bilateral trade and transit cargoes between Bangladesh and Bhutan that was signed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Thimphu last year,” the official said.

The draft SOP aims to enhance bilateral trade and commerce, ensuring credibility, accuracy, efficiency and transparency.

According to the draft SOP, three different water routes—Chattogram-Chandpur-Mawa-Aricha-Sirajganj-Chilmari-Saikhawa, Mongla-Kawkhali-Barishal-Chandpur-Mawa and Aricha-Sirajganj-Chilmari-Daikhawa—will be used for transportation. Besides these routes, the Narayanganj port and other additional sea ports will also be used. The SOP further says that a multimodal mode of transport comprising water, rail and road transport may be used depending on convenience.

As per the SOP, relevant fees/charges may be levied for use of coastal and river port facilities and services in accordance with domestic and international laws. Bangladesh will specify the fees and charges, the SOP read.

The SOP further says that the entry and exit points for trade through riverine route for crew members of cargo vessels shall be Samdrup Jongkhar, Gelegphug, Sarpang, Phuentshoking and Samtse in Bhutan and Monglahat, Noonkhawa, Daikhwa, Nakugaon, Haluaghat, Banglabandha, Burimari, Tamabil, Narayanganj, Gobrakurakoraitoli, Mongla seaport and Chattoagram seaport in Bangladesh. The crew travelling on these routes with the cargo vessels must carry, in addition to their identification cards issued by the appropriate authorities in both the countries, all other travel documents like passport/visa or certificate of employment and permits with a photograph of the concerned individual duly authenticated by the authorities required for their entry into the territory of the contracting countries, the draft SOP adds.