"We have set a target to begin coastal trade with Bangladesh from October," DG Shipping Gautam Chatterjee said here today on the sidelines of a seminar on coastal shipping organised The Bengal Chamber.
Coastal trade with Bangladesh had not been a success in the past but with the recent tweaking of standard for Indian coastal vessels, India had asked Bangladeshi counterparts to meet at least the Indian standard, if not International Association for Classification Societies (IACS).
"In the recent meeting, Bangladeshi officials had asked us to get Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) to inspect the vessels to meet the vessel standard protocal. According to them there are some 20 vessels from Bangladesh that can adhere to the Indian standards," Chatterjee said.
This was done to keep the Bangladeshi unfit vessels out of Indian waters.
Another issue raised by India was Bangladeshi insurance companies providing cover for the ships must also register with the Indian authorities.
However, once IRS approves the vessels then insurance hurdle will get resolved, shipping industry hoped.
Coastal trade with Bangladesh will come huge saving to the industry.
The Chittagong port is 150 km off Agartala, the capital of Tripura state, and more than 350 km away from Kolkata via Bangladesh, while the distance between Tripura and Kolkata is about 1,650 km through the rugged hilly terrain.