Quarterly Newsletter
Issue #6, April-June, 2021


A connectivity game changer
With the coordinated efforts from governments, private players and civil society organisations, taking into account concerns of all the stakeholders involved, an efficient multi-modal transport connectivity network could be created in the BBIN sub-region. There is no doubt that it will be a game changer in the sub-region’s achievement of sustainable growth and prosperity.
Imports by trains through Benapole rise remarkably
As there is an opportunity to import all kinds of goods by trains, traders have been urged to import more and more goods by rail.
Imports of goods by trains through Benapole port have seen a significant increase during the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, necessitating the railway authorities to start infrastructure development work quickly. Accordingly, the authorities have kicked off the work on a double railway line from Benapole railway station to the Indian port of Petrapole.
Dhaka-Sylhet highway's expansion work to begin soon
The Dhaka-Sylhet highway widening work is finally going to see the light of the day after more than five years, as the first tender of the nearly 210 kilometre road has recently been opened.
The Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane project, taken after completing feasibility study and detailed design in 2015, has been delayed due to fund crisis and uncertainty over the mode of financing for the project. This is the first of the six packages the whole highway is divided into. The other five packages include: Narsingdi-Bhairab (33km) under package 2, Sarail to Budondipur (35km) under package 3, Budondipur to Bahubal (28km) under package 4, Bahubal to Sherpur Bridge (35km) under package 5, and Sherpur to Peer Habibur Rahman Chattor (36km) under package 6. https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/
Experts: Boost trade facilitation to turn Bangladesh into investment hub
The country should focus on the Chinese, Indian, and ASEAN markets, expressed the speakers at a webinar
Focus on promoting the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) initiative to promote connectivity and immediately ratify the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) convention is required. It was highlighted that the country can take the benefits of the TIR convention only with internal reforms and readiness to serve the region as a trading hub such as the Netherlands, Singapore, or Dubai.
NBR drafts rules on transit, transhipment of Indian goods
As per rules, the tenure of the transit or transhipment will be seven days from the moment Indian goods leave the port of entry in Bangladesh.
The National Board of Revenue has formulated customs rules to facilitate the movement of Indian goods via Bangladesh to northeast India and other countries under the transit and transhipment deal signed by New Delhi and Dhaka. The "Customs Transit and Transhipment Rules 2021" aims at bringing the transportation of transit or transhipment goods under a specific guideline and proper authority.
Private sector must take lead in Indo-Bhutan-Bangladesh trade through inland waterways in Brahmaputra basin
The fruits of growing trade must be reaped by the most marginalized people on both sides of the border.
There is a need to develop the supply chain further by analysing the complementarity of the markets. Further, a need for infrastructure development at Jogighopa and Dhubri river ports in terms of dredging, clamshell cranes, steel jetty and full-fledged customs and terminal facilities has been indicated for the expansion of Bhutan’s trade with India. Additionally, extending port-of-calls status to Chittagong, Pyra and Mongla ports with the development of waterways could lead to inclusion of other commodities like fruits and vegetables in Bhutan’s trade basket with Bangladesh.
Bhutan exploring railway link to Bangladesh
To help Bhutanese exporting commodities to Bangladesh overcome hurdles they face on the way today, Bhutan is exploring railway links to Bangladesh through India.
The recently restored Haldibari-Chilahati railway link between India and Bangladesh is the potential route, according to officials at Royal Bhutan Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. People exporting goods from Bhutan to Bangladesh by road faced multiple hurdles on the way starting from the point they entered India till they reached Bangladesh. These problems comprise mostly informal tax collections on the way. The problems, besides being time consuming; also lead to destruction of perishable goods like oranges and apples.https://www.maritimegateway.com/
Transportation and mobility – the next big urban challenge
In true sense of the word, urban transport and mobility is not merely a matter of technology or economics, but one of culture and psychology and of the vast variations in our preference.
Transportation sector in Bhutan, its entirety, offers a huge set of challenges. Development of transport-related infrastructure has always been at the forefront, be it the first motorways built in the 1960s or the bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes being built by the Thimphu Thromde currently, traffic congestion, road accidents, and pollution issues are becoming a daily occurrence. The most obvious assertion to the issues would be the increasing vehicle ownership in the country as compared to poor transportation infrastructure quality in the city.
Stepping up transport decarbonisation for Carbon Neutral Bhutan
Apparently, there is much to gain from transport electrification. In fact, it seems that Bhutan can build a 21st century economy around transport electrification.
Bhutan also needs to decongest and reduce automobile dependence at this stage when the vehicle ownership is low. Perhaps try out light rail transport (LRT) in rapidly urbanising towns/cities like Thimphu, Paro, Gelephu and Bumthang. Try out LRT between Thimphu and nearby places like Paro, Wangdi and Punakha. The UNCRD report shows that it is possible. This can be undertaken through Public Private Partnership (PPP). Furthermore, it is not hard to deduce that decongesting road traffic and transport electrification can contribute to improving our GNH index especially those indicators under the ecological domain.
India committed to cooperation under BIMSTEC framework: Jaishankar
India remains committed to further building the momentum of regional cooperation under the framework of BIMSTEC and make it a stronger, vibrant and result-oriented grouping.
In an address at a virtual meeting of the regional grouping, Jaishankar noted that the member states have finalised the 'BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity' which is expected to be adopted at the fifth BIMSTEC summit. It would be an important step towards fulfilling the aspirations of the people of our region for better connectivity and integration. Laying emphasis on improving connectivity, Jaishankar said there was a need to put in place legal framework for smooth connectivity in the region by finalising the BIMSTEC coastal shipping agreement and the motor vehicles agreement at an early date.
How the logistics sector can contribute to tackling COVID-19 third wave
The Covid second wave hit us at a point when we are “not prepared” with both infrastructure and resources. But not again, the logistics industry is preparing ahead.
The state governments are working on ramping up the oxygen production and mapping the demand and supply, authorities are encouraging technology-driven logistics which could enable the real-time tracking of oxygen container movements. Also, the state governments are allowed to buy and import medicine from pharmaceutical companies. All the vehicles carrying medical supplies are given “priority” at the port, toll, and at the border to reduce the time delays. https://www.financialexpress.com/
Cost-effective, clean, and optimised freight transport system key for India’s growth
Improved rail mode share, logistics efficiency and clean vehicles are within India’s reach and will be cost effective, clean and will improve mode share and operational efficiency.
Niti Aayog and RNI report titled Fast Tracking Freight in India calls for increasing the share of rail transport, optimising truck use, promoting use of fuel efficient vehicles and alternative fuels. Implementing multi-stakeholder collaboration in a phased manner is critical to this transformation. It recommended improving existing network infrastructure and identifying and upgrading corridors with high potential for intermodal transport and ensuring better modal integration across rail, road and water. This strategy will lead to reduced logistics costs, reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality and less traffic on roads.
Logistics parks policy gets in-principle nod in Gujarat
Gujarat government gave in-principle approval to its first Integrated Logistics and Logistics Park Policy 2021 that provides financial support to the entire logistic value chain in the state.
The industries will get benefits of a high quality logistics infrastructure of the policy. It also covers warehousing, cold storages, air-freight stations, jetties and ports. The logistics network of Gujarat will be technology driven and compatible with provisions of the national logistics policy. Under this policy, the government will also create a state-wide logistic master plan which will help identify storage locations for future projects. Ten different departments of the government will be cooperating in creating this master plan.
Making BIMSTEC a regional vehicle for Nepal's economic growth
BIMSTEC established in 1996 could serve as an important platform in achieving Nepal’s foreign policy goals of development and prosperity.
Apart from working hand-in-hand with other member states in bolstering trade, tourism, and investment and enhancing and expanding physical and people-to-people connectivity for the development and prosperity of the region, Nepal should also think in terms of proposing new initiatives and leading in some of the emerging issues. Nepal should also actively take the lead in promoting the mountain economy. Of the seven member states of BIMSTEC, five – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and Nepal – comprise a considerable part of the Himalaya.
Nepal introduces digital visa system
Nepal launched a digital visa system to replace its 45-year-old hand-written visa regime.
The new system produces visas digitally from the integrated information system of the Department of Immigration. Key features of the digital visa system include hologram and watermark as security features and QR code in visa sticker with details of the visa enabling authorities to determine whether the visa is authentic with the help of QR code readers. With the new system, the security and management of visas is expected to be strengthened. it would make Nepali visas more credible and help ensure national security.
Nepal’s 2nd international airport is ready for a test flight
Nepal’s second international airport, the Gautam Buddha International airport in Bhairahawa, near Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is ready for a test flight.
The Gautam Buddha International Airport is ready for a calibration flight which is a test to see if the equipment connected to the runway, tower and other areas that direct flights and landings at the airport are working. Gardening, landscape, painting and marking works have been completed. Runway lights, control towers, conveyer belt machines, baggage handling systems and other works have been completed. The fencing work has been completed and the inner periphery road has been constructed.
10 roads built with Indian grant inaugurated in Nepal’s Terai
Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Nepal Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Basant Kumar Nembang jointly dedicated the roads to the people of the Himalayan nation.
The roads, located in seven border districts of Province 1, 2 and 5, connect major towns located on the East-West highway along the India-Nepal border. The project implementation was done as per the specifications of the Department of Roads, Nepal. Each road is seven metre-wide with two-metre shoulders. The roadways were built under the ‘Government of India funding and Government of Nepal implementation’ modality.