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Dhaka, Colombo to sign coastal shipping deal soon

  • Published at 07:51 pm October 9th, 2018
File photo of containers piled up in Chittagong port Dhaka Tribune

The bilateral deal is expected to cut down both the transhipment cost, and the time required to travel between Chittagong and Colombo

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have finalized the much awaited coastal shipping agreement between the two countries.

The deal will be signed shortly, said the Sri Lankan Development Strategies and International Trade minister Malik Samarawickrama, at a recent forum in Colombo, reports UNB. 

The agreement will allow third party access for Sri Lankan vessels to East Indian ports, a report carried out by the Daily Mirror of Sri Lanka quoted him as saying.

"The coastal shipping agreement between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be signed very soon after receiving Cabinet approval," he said. "This means ports in east coast of India will be open for use."

The bilateral deal is expected to cut down both the transhipment cost, and the time required to travel between Chittagong and Colombo, boosting competitiveness.

Speaking of the plans to position Sri Lanka as a hub for multi-country consolidation (MCC) services, Samarawickrama said, "MCC refers to the logistics activity where less-than-container load (LCL) cargoes from different origins are combined into a full container load (FCL) and shipped to their destinations.

While optimizing cargo flows and reducing international transport costs for firms, MCC is especially use for large companies that source small volumes of goods, and for SMEs that ship small volumes, the minister said. 

He also acknowledged that in order for Sri Lankan exporters to become competitive in the world, having an efficient and cost-effective logistics system is of the utmost importance. 

While noting the Colombo port has been outperforming other ports in the region, Samarawickrama stressed, "We cannot afford to be lax. Other hubs in the region are forging ahead with reforms and new projects."

The MCC project will be a very specific and impactful initiative that will help realize the potential the ports offer, Samarawickrama said. 

As well as complementing the other ongoing reforms Sri Lanka is doing, it will make the country an attractive investment spot, and an attractive hub for trade, he said. 

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