Pran-RFL Group is going to begin exporting food products to India using waterway for the first time today.
The cargo ship will kick-start its journey from the Pran Industrial Park for India on the occasion of the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence.
It will take eight days for the ship containing 25,000 cartons of Pran litchi drink to cross a 710km river route via Narsingdi, Narayanganj and the Sheikhbaria point in Khulna and finally reach the Kolkata port.
The first export of food items to the neighbouring country under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between Bangladesh and India will reduce the export cost by 30% of what is required by road, according to Pran.
Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, chief executive officer of Pran-RFL Group, said, "The cost of transporting goods by water is less than what it costs by road. There is a risk of products getting damaged or losing quality while being shipped through road transport because of bad road conditions in many places. But the waterway is safe in this case."
In 1997, Pran Group initiated its by-road export to India by sending Chanachur to Tripura.
Pran is currently exporting more than 150 products to 28 Indian states such as Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tripura, Gujarat, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
Pran's exporters include fruit drinks, chips, snacks, biscuits, candy, sauces, ketchup, noodles, jelly and spices. Pran exports their goods to India through Bhomra, Burimari, Sutarkandi, Akhaura, Dauki land ports, and Chattogram seaport.
According to Pran, the group has exported goods amounting to $224 million to India in the last three years.
There is a huge demand for Bangladeshi processed food in West Bengal and the Seven Sisters states of India. Keeping that in mind, Pran is constantly trying to supply products that meet the needs of the people in the neighbouring country. It is also trying to overcome some problems between the two countries and increase the volume of exports, sources at Pran said.
According to Pran's data, the company's exports to India are growing by 10% on average every year. Besides, India accounts for about 30% of its total food exports.
As of March this fiscal year, over 22.23 lakh tonnes of goods were transported in 2,591 trips by Bangladeshi ships through the protocol route. At the same time, 88,566 tonnes of goods were sent in 59 trips by Indian ships.