Traders discuss challenges hampering trade from Dhubri Port

India Seatrade News, March 22, 2022

Dhubri Port in Assam has potential to be an export hub for Bangladesh, said Atowar Rahman, President, Dhubri Waterways International Traders Association, Dhubri but functional challenges are stopping it to realise its full capacity.

He further said that Brahmaputra river near Dhubri now forms a secondary channel, thus huge dredging is required to make inland waterway navigable.

He was speaking at the Multi-stakeholders and Traders’ Meeting on “Cross-Border Trade, Tourism and Navigation through Trans-boundary Inland Waterways between India and Bangladesh” organised on March 21, 2022 in Hotel Swagat, Dhubri, Assam by CUTS International.

The meeting was organised under a regional programme ‘Trans-boundary Rivers of South Asia’ supported by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and managed by Oxfam.

“The ground level issues and concerns faced by traders and exporters might not reach the policy-makers at right time, thus this initiative is an attempt to bring forward the issues faced by local traders and exporters involved in cross-border trade through Dhubri”, said Saurabh Kumar, Fellow, CUTS International, a global-policy think- and- action tank on trade, regulations and governance.

“Digitalisation of all the documents, faster implementation of EDI system (Electronic Database Interchange), and reduction of paper-work and time-bound approvals are highly required in this region. The port also needs more facilities that would facilitate smooth and efficient trade.

Furthermore, reviving the Ro-Ro services in Dhubri Port will reduce the cost and time involved”, said by Lalit Kumar Chopra, Manager and Chattered Accountant of Bhansali International, a leading export-import firm. Other traders pointed out that Dhubri requires local vessel building, maintenance and repairing facility so that Indian vessels can also ply on India-Bangladesh Protocol route.

Right now only Bangladeshi vessels are operating on this route which increases cost. Local traders also demanded that if import duty in Bangladesh is reduced on Indian products and at par with Bhutanese products then local products can also be exported to Chilmari from Dhubri.

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