New Land Port Launched to Expand Export to India
Sunday, 04 October 2009

The government has opened the country's 17th land port in Feni district hoping to boost export to seven northeast Indian states including Tripura.

Shipping minister Shahjahan Khan formally inaugurated the Bilonia Land Port, which had been a tax station, in Porshuram Upazila on Sunday.

Indian state Tripura's commerce minister Gitendra Chowdhury, Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, shipping secretary Masud Elahi, India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Matlub Ahmed, among others, attended the inaugural ceremony.

The minister said the new land port meant to fulfill another electoral pledge of the Awami League- government.

He also expressed the hope to expand trade with Nepal and Bhutan.

Gitendra Chowdhury said over 100 years ago goods were transported to Tripura through Feni. The new land port has resumed the trade in a new form.

He said it would be cost effective for his government if it can import construction materials from Bangladesh. He also said, "We have plenty of rubber and fruits, you (Bangladeshi authorities) may make use of them."

Matlub Ahmed at a news conference in the capital on Saturday said, "With the inauguration of the new land port Bangladesh will be able to increase export to northeast Indian states (Seven Sisters), further closing the trade gap."

According to the Export Promotion Bureau figure, Bangladesh had a trade gap with India worth $ 158.70 crore (2.59 billion) in the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The exporters and importers from Chittagong, Noakhali and Feni areas will be able to transport their goods at very low costs through the new port, he had said.

"We have estimated that the cost of transporting goods using the other land ports is around 20,000 taka. Transporting goods using the Bilonia-Feni port lowers it to around 5,000 taka," the IBCCI chief told the media.

"We are hoping that Bangladesh will export goods worth 1 billion dollar to India by 2011," Ahmed added.


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