Transshipment of goods between India and Bangladesh through Chattogram port is set to begin on Tuesday, customs officials said.
As per an agreement inked between the two countries, the first Indian ship is set to arrive at the Chittagong port, carrying four containers to transship the goods to Agartala through Akhaura on trial basis.
The traders, according to the said agreement, would have to give an undertaking on the payable duties and taxes to the customs authority at the time of transshipment of the goods, said the officials.
Besides, they will be required to sign a bond on a non-judicial stamp against the payable duties. However, the bond would be released after proper exit of goods through the customs point, said an office order of the customs.
Any authorized clearing forwarding agents having licence of the customs house or freight forwarders or shipping agents will be able to give the undertaking on behalf of the owner of the products, the order said.
In 2015, Bangladesh and India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the use of the Chattogram and Mongla ports by the latter.
Dhaka and Delhi signed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in October last to fix the modality of the transshipment of goods through the routes.
In a recent office order, dated July 13, 2020, the customs authority under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) said that as per the SOP, the full-fledged preparation is yet to be completed to allow the trial run transshipment of goods.
"The traders can submit customs transit declaration (CTD) manually instead of Asycuda World System and also use general lock (seal-gala) instead of electronic lock," it said.
The Indian Ship 'Shejyoti' is set to arrive on Tuesday with TMT steel bars in two containers and pulses type products in another two containers from Kolkata port to Chattogram port.
The TMT bars will be transshipped to Tripura of India through Chittagong-Akhanura-Agartala route on Trucks or trailers.
The NBR order instructed the customs officer to appoint sufficient escort officer to secure the transiting products from any leakage.
Each of the products must have five stage CTD, manifest with 'for transit' or 'for transshipment' mark.
However, the products will have to be transshipped within seven days from Bangladesh, except some exceptional cases when it can be deferred by submitting applications.
As per the 'Agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla port for movement of goods to and from India', traders have to pay Tk 30 as document processing fee (per chalan), transshipment fee Tk 20 (per tonne), security charge (per tonne), escort charge Tk50 (per tonne), miscellaneous administrative charge Tk 100 (per tonne), container scanning fee Tk 254 (per container), electric lock and seal fee (as per rules).
Talking to the FE, Chattogram Customs House (CCH) commissioner Md Fakhrul Alam said the customs house is ready to deliver the transit goods smoothly by ensuring its proper escort.
He said officials of CCH and customs intelligence will be with the transit products all along the exit point up to Cumilla.
He said the transshipment of goods would require giving undertaking in the CCH on the payable duties and taxes.
He said the transit fees will be levied for both trail and regular containers.
Four road, rail and water routes will be used from Chattogram and Mongla ports to transport goods to Agartala (Tripura) via Akhaura; Dawki (Meghalaya) via Tamabil; Sutarkandi (Assam) via Sheola, and Srimantpur (Tripura) via Bibirbazar.
The landlocked Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura states would be able to get access to the sea trade routes from now on. Although the transshipment meant for both the countries, mainly the Indian states will get benefit of the agreement.
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