Every time Razzque Miah, an Indian trucker, comes to Akhaura land port with goods from India, he has to return as he cannot stay at the port for lack of accommodation.
And this shuttling between Bangladesh and India almost every day until he gets green signal for the unloading of his goods means a lot of hassle for him.
Traders, workers and truckers who use the port are thus facing severe problems, although the export-import activities at the port have increased significantly, causing a rise in revenue earnings for the government.
But lack of dormitories, shed and digital weighing scale, insufficient washroom, transshipment yard and warehouse have long been causes of sufferings for those using the port.
The government's revenue earnings from the port stands at Tk53 lakh in the first five months of the 2021-22 financial year from July to November. It earned Tk29.71 lakh in the 2019-20 financial year and Tk36.57 lakh in the 2020-21 financial year.
The port has a small office, a semi-digital weighing scale (100-tonne capacity), a warehouse (800-tonne capacity), an open yard and a transshipment yard which are insufficient to serve its purpose. Moreover, the small washroom is inadequate for hundreds of workers.
Shafiqul Islam, general secretary of Akhaura Land Port Importers and Exporters Association, told The Business Standard, "To upgrade the port's present state, we asked the port authorities to expand the open yard, setting up a new warehouse and a shed for workers."
Mostafizur Rahman, assistant director, Akhaura Land Port Authority, told TBS, "We wrote to the higher authorities to resolve the problems and they have undertaken a project for the port's overall development. The work of the project will begin soon."
Exports-Import rises thru' the port
Land port sources say various products -- including fish, rods, cement, edible oil, cotton, fruits and coal -- worth Tk4-5 crore are exported to India per day on an average. Bangladesh started importing rice and wheat from India in August.
Traders say the revenue earnings by the port will increase manyfold in the ongoing fiscal year, comparatively to the previous years as alongside the exports, the port started full-fledged import activities in this financial year.
According to port sources, 500 truck-load goods were exported and only one truck-load goods were imported through the port in July of the 2021-22 financial year while 865 truck-load goods were exported and 534 truck-load goods were imported in August.
A total of 901-truck goods were exported while 732 truck goods imported in September and 836-truck goods were exported while 601-truck goods were imported in October. 970 truck goods were exported while 643 truck goods imported in November, they added.
Yet, 11 years after its inception, the port lags behind in infrastructural development compared to the country's other land ports, posing a threat to hamper the export-import activities, traders at the land port say.
According to the port authorities, since the inception of Akhaura land customs station in 1994, only goods were exported through it. However, a few products are imported once or twice a year. On 13 August 2010, the land port started its journey as a full-fledged port.