Cargo trucks are now entering Benapole port in Bangladesh from Petrapole port of India's West Bengal in three days, whereas earlier it took more than one month.
The change has come after the state government of India's West Bengal took away charge of the parking lot from Bangaon municipality and handed it over to the Department of Transport recently.
Aminul Haque, vice president of Benapole Port Import-Export Association, said earlier a cargo truck remained stuck for up to 39 days in the parking lot after entering Petrapole port in India due to a syndicate.
The trucks had to enter Bangladesh paying extortion money to the syndicate, he said.
But after the transport department took charge of the parking lot, cargo trucks reached Benapole easily in the last week of July, he added.
Earlier, there used to be around 9,000 cargo trucks in line, waiting to enter Petrapole port from the Kalitala parking lot. Now, it has come down to 1,587, according to several cargo truck drivers.
Kamal Hossain, vice president of Benapole C&F Staff Association said, "Businessmen of the two countries are happy with this initiative of the West Bengal government."
However, the service charge of India's transport department for each truck had been set at 10,000 rupees, he said.
Importers would benefit more if the amount was reduced a bit, he added.
Motiar Rahman, director of Bangladesh-India Land Port Chamber of Commerce, said the rent of a cargo truck for carrying goods from any province of India to Benapole is usually about Tk150,000.
Now as the West Bengal Government's Transport Department has introduced online slot booking, trucks from any province of India reach Benapole within one to two days after arriving in Kolkata, he added.
Customs officials of the Indian port think that the enthusiasm for export among traders in different parts of their country will increase now.
What happened earlier
Apart from the price of goods and truck rent, at least Tk2,000 crore per year was given only as Kalitala parking charges, said Motiar.
After a truck arrived from any state in India, including Delhi and Mumbai, it was unloaded at the local warehouses in Kalitala parking lot to save money given as truck rent.
Later, the same products were loaded in another two trucks and sent to Benapole, which was outside the terms of the letter of credit (LC), said Motiar.
"LCs allow part shipment but prohibit transshipment. The Bangaon parking syndicate would keep entries with fake numbers of trucks. Later that serial number was sold for 50,000 rupees," he said.
Kartik Chakraborty, general secretary of C&F Staff Welfare Association in Petrapole, said the vehicles were now reaching Bangladesh within two to three days as fake entries have been stopped.
This port will also be more active in the coming days, he hoped.