Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata, which is conducting an inaugural run for transporting cargo to Myanmar’s Sittwe Port in May, is expecting a good traction in trade volumes between India and Myanmar, and shipment of goods to India’s landlocked North-Eastern States.

The Sittwe port is part of the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project. The project aims to connect the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar by sea, and further link Sittwe port to Paletwa in Myanmar via Kaladan river waterway, and connect Paletwa to Mizoram by road. The link will not only help provide alternative route to ship goods to the North-Eastern States but will significantly lower the cost and distance of movement from Kolkata to Mizoram and beyond. It will also help in reducing the dependency on the only route through Siliguri Corridor, widely known as the Chicken’s Neck in West Bengal — sandwiched between Bhutan and Bangladesh.

According to Samrat Rahi, Deputy Chairman, Kolkata Dock System (KDS), the inaugural run, with a cargo of around 3,000 tonnes of cement, would take off from the Netaji Subhas Dock on May 4.

“The EXIM trade between India and Myanmar is expected to boost up with the advent of Sittwe port, as direct connectivity of cargo without routing through transshipment ports will reduce shipping cost and time. It will act as a new gateway to the North-East of India. There is already an established trade of 8000 TEUs per year with North-Eastern States via KDS. This volume is expected to grow with fast connectivity through Sittwe port,” Rahi told businessline.

Scope for growing trade

Some of the key ideas of trade from mainland India to North-Eastern States include foodgrains, fertilizers, tar-coal/bitumen, imported coal, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, fly ash, edible oil. Limestone, silicon, PoL (petroleum, oil and lubricants) and crude, tea, fertilizers, agricultural and horticulture commodities are some of the items coming in from the North-East to mainland India.

Key items of export from India to Myanmar could include pharmaceutical products, fertilizers, cotton yarn, electrical machinery and equipment, plastics, iron and steel, animal or vegetable fats and oils, man-made filaments and paper and paperboard among others.