KOLKATA: The trial run of the first container train to run between Kolkata and Dhaka was flagged off on Tuesday. "The much-awaited demand of the trade is finally being met after a long passing by Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR) and Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railway and other agencies of the two countries," Harindra Rao, General Manager, Eastern Railways said.
The container train will take around eight hours to reach Bangladesh and can carry 60 containers with a maximum net weight of 12.247 kg in each.
While passenger trains and goods train have been running between the two countries, container train service has begun for the first time. It is expected to facilitate trade between India and Bangladesh.
The train left for Bangladesh with 60 containers loaded with almost 1,200 tonnes of de-oiled cake, used as a raw material for animal feed. It will pass through Sealdah, Naihati, Ranaghat and Gede in India and Darsana and Ishurdi in Bangladesh before reaching Bangabandhu West station, 117 kilometres off capital city of Dhaka.
General Manager of Eastern Railway Zone, Harindra Rao, said the train would make customs procedures easier and deliver consignments before sunset. Reportedly, exporters' forums had been lobbying for container trains to help them save time and significantly cut costs. The frequency of the train will be finalized based on demand.
Currently, the trade between India and Bangladesh is largely road-based. Reportedly, it takes almost a month for an Indian truck to reach Bangladesh through the congested Petrapole-Benapole border, with customs clearance alone taking nearly 25 days. The train is also likely to resolve the capacity constraints of sea and land routes.