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Photo: The Economic Times

The first container train to connect the Bangladesh-India through the Petrapole-Benapole border in West Bengal departed on July 24, furthering the connectivity initiative between the two countries.

The train carried 40 containers of FMCG cargo and 10 containers of fabrics. The exporters from the Indian side are Procter & Gamble, Arvind Ltd and Vardhaman Textiles Ltd, reports The Economic Times.

The advantage of container is that any exporter can move even one container (20 tonnes) -- it is possible to aggregate traffic of various exporters and send in one train. Containerization has other advantages such as minimal customs check at borders besides safety and security of cargo.

This builds upon an experimental shipment launched by CONCOR and Indian Railways in April 2018, which used the Gede-Dharsana railway border crossing, but the list of goods permitted through that crossing was insufficient to make economic sense, informed sources say.

Traditionally, full rake load in covered wagons have been used for transporting various commodities such as stone chips, fly ash, maize, ballast, onions, rice etc to Bangladesh. From this July parcel vans and containers have also been added to this product mix. First rake of parcel vans containing chillies from Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) was made over to Bangladesh on July 13.

The advantage of Parcel Vans is that it can be suitable for wide range of products such as agricultural product, FMCG, yarn and milk powder. A shipment of even up to 500 tonnes can be conveniently made over in parcel vans whereas in case of wagons at least 2000 tonnes are required. With the introduction of parcel vans, it is expected that new cargo which was not being moved by rail will be possible to be transported to Bangladesh by rail, sources said.

Last week the two countries also marked another historic achievement towards strengthening India Bangladesh maritime and economic partnership.