Maersk has successfully completed the first India-Bangladesh cross-border logistics of containerized cargo using the inland waterways of the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route for Coca-Cola Bangladesh Beverages.
By transporting 50 Twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers from Kolkata in India to a river port near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on a barge on the National Waterways on the India side, Maersk established a new opportunity for customers to use the faster, more reliable inland waterways solution that connects the two countries.
“The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route has created great trade opportunities for the two countries over the last decades,” Vikash Agarwal, managing director, Maersk South Asia, said. “By advancing into containerized transport on this route, we are expanding the opportunities for importers and exporters from the two countries with a faster, more reliable and safer option for their cargo.”
Maersk noted that the cargo movement on inland waterways or rivers is much more reliable, especially in monsoons, when the turbulent weather can cause delays while transporting goods over the ocean. With the ocean network running under capacity pressure, the alternative inland waterways route is also quicker and more reliable and has received a warm welcome from shippers. This solution also addresses the bottleneck at the land border between the two countries.
“The maiden barge voyage has been successfully executed, where there has been a significant reduction of transit time,” Soumyendu Sen Sarma, director of finance at Coca-Cola Bangladesh Beverages, said. “The delivery schedule of the cargo, which used to be routed through the transhipment hub and then arrive in Chittagong and further to the destination, used to be impacted severely with delays. The speed of delivery with the new solution offered by Maersk over inland waterways is going to be extremely beneficial for us.”
The governments of both countries have long encouraged trade on the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and recently strengthened the customs processes further to enhance the ease of doing business, Maersk said.
“Our solution to move cargo across the Indo-Bangladesh border has a saving of over 60 percent in terms of transit time,” Angshuman Mustafi, head of Maersk Bangladesh, said. “In addition to the faster mode of transport, we are able to give end-to-end visibility to our customers through daily status reports, which give a comparison between the estimated timelines against actual timelines. The negligible variations in these comparisons prove high reliability and have been thoroughly appreciated by our customers.”
The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route is not only a benefit for trade between India and Bangladesh but also extends the connection to landlocked Bhutan. With the option of providing an end-to-end integrated logistics solution, Maersk’s customers can move their cargo from origin to destination using first-mile and last-mile services, including landside transportation by road or rail, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution, and supply chain management.