India, Bangladesh to start coastal shipping

India and Bangladesh are set to start coastal shipping, the government said on Thursday.

New Delhi: India and Bangladesh are set to start coastal shipping, the government said on Thursday.

"A basic understanding on commencement of coastal shipping has been arrived at between India and Bangladesh," Minister of State Shipping Krishanpal Gurjar told Lok Sabha in a written reply.

He said it has been agreed by both the countries to conform to certain minimum vessel classification standards and also third party insurance cover with appropriate liability limit of the coastal vessels.

"The Indian coastal vessels already conform to necessary standards and insurance liability coverage. However, the Bangladesh side has mentioned they would take some time to have these norms and insurance policy in place," he said.

Gurjar added that the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the coastal voyages between India and Bangladesh would be finalised by both the side through exchange of draft SOP.

Last month the government had said trial runs between ports in the two countries were slated by October 14 for coastal shipping.

Both the countries have agreed to buy insurance cover for a limit of $10 million from the respective domestic insurance companies.

Indian coastal vessels presently are covered for an insurance liability up to a maximum limit of $10 million only.

A meeting held in June at Dhaka in this connection.

The Chittagong port is 150 km off Agartala, the capitalof Tripura state, and more than 350 km away from Kolkata via Bangladesh, while distance between Tripura and Kolkata is about 1,650 km through the rugged hilly terrain.