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Protocol on Inland Water Transport and Trade

Type: Rules
Issuing Agency: Ministry of Shipping
Responsible Agency: Ministry of Shipping
Issuing Date: 15-02-2011



In pursuance of Article VIII of the Trade Agreement entered into between the Government of the Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the Republic of India on the February, 2011 wherein the two Governments agreed to make mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for commerce between the two countries for passage of goods between two in one country through the territory of the other; in accordance with the laws of-'the country through the territory of which goods are moving, it is further agreed as following:


1.         Definition

For the purpose of this Protocol unless the context otherwise requires:


1.1       The term "Competent Authorities" will mean the authorities authorized by the respective Government'.

1.2     The term "route" will refer to the routes:

(1)       Kolkata-Haldia-Raimongal-Chalna-K.hulna-Mongla-Kaukhali-BarisaI-Hizla-Chandpur-Narayangonj-Aricha-Sirajganj—Chilmari-Dhubri-Pandu-Silghat.

(2)       Silghat-Pandu-Dhubri-Chilmari-Bahadurabad-Sirajganj-Aricha-Narayangonj-Chandpur-Hizta-Barisal-Kaukhali-Mongla-Khulna-Chalna-Raimongal-Haidia-Kolkata.

(3)       Kolkata-Haldia-Raimongal-Mongia-Kaukhali-Bansal-Hizla-Chandpur- Narayangonj – Bhairab Bazar -Ashuganj- Ajmiriganj-Markuli-Sherpur- Fenchuganj- Zakiganj-Karimganj.

(4)       Karimganj-Zakiganj-Fcnchuganj-Shcrpur-Maikuli-Ajmiriganj-Ashuganj-Bhairab Bazar-Narayangonj-Chandpur-Hizla-Barisal-Kaukhali-Mongla-Raimongal-Haldia- Kolkata.

(5)       Rajshahi-Godagari-Dhulian;

(6)       Dhuhan-Godagari-Rajshahi



(7)       Karimganj-Zakiganj-Fcnchuganj-Shcrpur-Markuii-Adnhriganj-Bhairab Bazar-Narayangonj-Chandpur-Aricha-Sirajganj-Bahadurabad-Chilmari-Dhubri-Pandu-Silghal.

(8)       Silghat-Pandu-Dhubri-Chilmari-Bahadurabad-Sirajganj-Aricria Chandpur-Narayangonj-BhairabBazar-Admiriganj-Markuli-Shcr])ur-Fcnchuganj-Zakiganj-K:trimganj

or- such  other  routes  as  may  be  prescribed by  the. Competent Authorities from time to lime.

1.3       The term "Vessels" will mean the watercrafts which are registered under the Inland Shipping Ordinance, 1976 as amended from lime to lime in case of Bangladesh vessels and Inland vassals Act, 1917, as amended from time to lime in case of Indian Vessels. This will cover vessels which carry only commercial goods stated in the preamble of the Protocol.

2.       Conservancy and Pilotage:

2.1       Each country will maintain the river routes falling within its territory in a navigable condition and provide all the essential pilotage and conservancy services, including hydrographic surveys and supply' of. charts, if prepared and available for commercial navigational use to inland water transport operators and aids to night navigation where facilities for such navigation already exist.

2.2       Acknowledging that there may be routes or parts of routes in one country, primarily being used by the transit traffic of the other, the country maintaining such routes will provide aids to night navigation on such routes, provided the country using such routes pays, by mutual agreement, for the installation and maintenance of such aids. The amount to be paid and the manner of its payment shall be mutually agreed upon by the two sides.

3.         Port dues and other charges:

3.1       Port dues may be levied by the competent authorities in cither country on the vessels belonging to the other country and engaged in inter country trade.

3.2       The competent authorities in either country may also lcvy on the vessels of the other country charges for conservancy, pilotage and other specific services at par with those charged from the local vessels. The   charges   will   be   determined   with   reference to   cargo carrying capacity of the vessels, as applicable to local vessels. Charges for such services shall be paid within 30 (thirty) days of receipt of the bills by the Competent Authority, failing which further voyage will not be permitted,

3.3       Acknowledging that one country may be required to maintain routes or parts of routes primarily on account of the transit traffic of the other, the country utilizing such routes will provide to the other country an agreed sum of money for- the maintenance of such routes including conservancy and pilotage.    .

3.4       The routes between Sirajganj and Daikhawa in the Northern Delta   Section   of the   River  Jamuna-Brahamapulra  and  the  route between Sherpur and Zakiganj in the North Eastern Delia Section of the  Kushiara   river  arc   recognized  by  both  sides  as  routes being maintained primarily for the use of Indian transit traffic.

3.5       For the maintenance of the above mentioned services on these routes, the Government of India will pay to the Government of Bangladesh in convertible currency an amount of BD taka 550 lakh for the period April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012.

4.         Handling facilities:

Each, country will permit the vessels of the other country to utilize all available cranes and other handling facilities on the same terms and conditions as arc applicable to local vessels.


5.         Supply of bunkers:

The vessels of cither country plying between the two countries and also between places in the same country through the other country will be permitted to purchase the fuel required by them for the purpose of their operations on payment of tire convertible currency. Vessels of one country may be bunkered at the following points of other country:




Bangladesh                                                 India

Sheikbaria                                         Kolkata

Mongla                                               Budge Budge

Khulna                                               Halsia

Barisal                                                Namkhana

Chandpur                                          Karimganj

Narayanganj                                     Dhubri

Sirajganj                                            Jogigopa

Chilmari                                             Pandu


or at any other points as determined mutually from time to time by die Competent Authorities of both the countries.

6.         Purchase of essential stores:

The vessels operating in either country will be allowed to purchase in convertible currency   the stores   which they   may require   for their   ' operation   during   the   voyage   in   the   other   country   at   places   of bunkering.   In order to do so, conversion facilities will be provided at the bunkering points.


7.         Purchase of provisions by the fleet personnel during voyage:

Fresh good and other provisions essential for fleet personnel will be allowed to be purchased in cither country to meet the requirements of voyage. Tire purchase will be made in convertible currency at the points' of bunkering. It; order to do so,' conversion" facilities will be provided at the bunkering points. In exceptional circumstances only purchases may be made at places other than the bunkering "points, The appropriate authorities of cither country may prescribe the manner in which such purchases may be made should it be deemed necessary.

8.         Repair facilities:

Vessels of cither country calling for urgent repairs on route will be allowed to have repairs done at the Government owned or any reputed marine workshop in cither country with the prior permission of the respective Competent Authority. The expenditure incurred on such repairs will be reported by the operators to the concerned foreign exchange authorities for their clearance in accordance with the provisions of Article 25.

9.         Assistance to be provided by either country to the vessels of the other in distress:

Each country will provide all the necessary facilities to the vessels of the other, which may be grounded or otherwise in distress during their voyage in its waterways. Expenditure incurred in salvage operations, if required on such occasions, shall be cleared in accordance with the arrangements to be made under Article 25.


10.       Submission of voyage forecast for voyage permission to use waterways:

The vessels of-one country before using the waterways of the other country will obtain the permission of the other country for entry. In such cases the voyage forecasts, in the prescribed form, for the vessels of one country will be submitted to the competent authority of the other country at least four days before the expected date of entry into the country of entry.


11.     Nomination of "Ports of Call" on equal basis:

One country will provide the facilities of "Ports of Call" to ihc vessels of ihc otiicr country engaged in inter country trade and number of such Ports of Call will be equal in both countries. Both sides agreed that the following would be treated as 'Ports of Call' in their respective country.

Bangladesh                                     India

Narayaganj                                       Kolkata

KJiulna                                              Haldia

Mongla                                               Karimganj

Sirajganj                                            Pandu

Ashuganj                                           Silghat

12.       Recognition of survey certificates and other documents:

The survey certificates and other documents issued by the appropriate authorities in one country for the vessels registered in it and running to or through the other will be recognized and accepted as valid by the other. These certificates or documents shall be produced by the Master of the vessels concerned all the points of entry ant at the other points, as may be required, during the voyage.


13.       Flying of Flags:

The vessels of each country will carry its national Hag and the national Hag of the country through which it is transiting besides its house flag.

14.       Use of radio-telephone by river craft:

Inland vessels will be allowed to be equipped with radio-telephone '.or facilities of speedy commercial communications, specially in emergencies, in conformity with the current regulations of the country through which the vessels are in transit.

15.       Registration and issue of identity cards:

 The personnel manning vessels plying through or between the two  countries] shall carry certificate, of ^employment and permits with a, photograph of the concerned individual duly authenticated by the | authorities lo be nominated by the respective countries in regard to their personnel. Officers supervising or controlling the fleet of thet operators in cither country shall carry passport endorsed with multiple I   entry visas,

16.       Permission (o fleet personnel and traveling officers to go by | rail, road or air in special circumstances:

Fleet personnel and traveling officers posted to any of the vessels, carrying transit cargo in cither country will be allowed to travel by rail, road or air, whenever they are required to join duty on the vessels, or when they have to leave their duty on the vessels by reasons of sickness of other urgent contingencies. Such movements will be simultaneously reported to the appropriate authorities of cither country.


17.       Prohibition on vessels carrying transit cargo:

Vessels carrying transit cargo through one country will not be engaged in inter country trade and will not take or discharge cargo or passengers in the country through which they are passing. Ail necessary facilities for inspection will be accorded by each country to the customs and other agencies. No undue delay will be caused to the voyage of any vessels on account of such inspections.



18.       Sharing of inter-country trade and transit cargo:

The two Governments agree to sharing of the carriage of inter country trade and transit cargo on an equal tonnage basis (i.c 50:50) as far as practicable by the vessels ol' signatory countries to and from ports of call/customs stations including extended places of loading and unloading under customs formalities and supervision.  The competent authorities of the two countries will take steps to operationalise the sharing through appropriate measures keeping in view that expeditious transportation of cargo is in the mutual interest of both countries,


19.       Common freight rates:

The operators in both the countries will charge to the extent practicable uniform freight rales for both inter-country trade and transit traffic. Such rates will be fixed by the competent authorities by mutual consultations.


20.       Evolving uniform documentation for vessels:

The document issued in accordance with the regulations in one country, in respect of the cargoes earned by vessels going to or through the other country will be accepted by the other. Efforts will be made to evolve uniform documentation In both the countries as curly as possible. 


A Manifest in duplicate For in-transit goods in addition to the Manifest Book shall be submitted to the Customs Officer at the point of entry.. One copy of the Manifest will be retained by him and the other; duly endorsed will be sent in sealed cover through the Master of the vessel to the customs Officers at the exit points.


21.       Customs checks and documentation:

Both the countries agree to reduce customs documentation and other requirements to the essential minimum for the purpose of transit and to have custom stations at or near the points of entry and exit in each. country.


22.      Freight remittance facilities:

The freight earned by the vessels of cither country from the traffic, originating in the other and earned by them, will be allowed to be

remitted to the owners of the vessels in accordance with [he arrangements for remittance of surplus collection between the two countries that may he in force from time to time in accordance with Article 25.


23.       Permission   In operate trucks between places in   India and river stations in Bangladesh:


23.1 Bangladesh Truck and/or Tractor-Trailers may carry cargoes transshipped from river crafts at Sherpur and Ashuganj to the Indian border.

23.2   Cargoes  brought  by  deeper drafl  vessels  from  India  up  to Sherpur -or any other point on the waterways in Bangladesh may be transshipped   into   shallow   draft   vessels   for   destination   in   India. Conversely,   transshipments   can   also   be   made   from   shallow   draft vessels to deeper draft vessels.    Transshipments will be carried out under   the   supervision    of   BIWTA    and   Customs   authorities   of Bangladesh,

24.       Opening of branch offices and appointment of agents:

The operators of vessels in one country will be allowed to open their branch offices or appoint their agents only at major inland ports and secondary river ports in the other."'However, such branch offices will be opened with due approval from the country concerned.

25.       Arrangements for settlement, clearance «S: remittance:

Subject to their respective foreign exchange regulations, the competent authorities     of Bangladesh     and    India,    shall    through    mutual consultations, establish a comprehensive system for quick settlement, clearance and remittance of all sums, claims, or dues on account of goods supplied, services rendered or facilities accorded to the vessels of one country in or by the other.


26.       Setting up of a Standing Committee:

For evaluation and reviewing the working of this Protocol and for the purpose of improvement of inland water transportation between the two countries there will be a Standing Committee, including representatives of the Ministry of Shipping of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Shipping, Rood Transport and Highways Department of  


Shipping of India, the representatives of the Ministry of Finance of Bangladesh and of India, the representatives of B1WTA and BIWTC of Bangladesh and 1WA1 and C 1WTC of India, Use concerned Customs officials of both countries and two representatives of the operator’s one from each country.


The Committee may co-opt members whose participation is considered necessary by it. The Standing Committee shall meet at least once in six months and its findings shall be forwarded to the respective Governments for necessary action.


27.       Addition of new Routes and more Ports of Call:

Amendment, alteration, addition, repeal of any provision, of this Protocol may be done by both the Governments by mutual consultations and through exchange of letters.


28.     Term of the Protocol:

This Protocol shall come into force from the 1st April 201 1 and shall remain in force up to 31st March 2012. It may be extended for a further period through mutual consent subject to such modifications as may be agreed upon.


Done in Goa, India, on the Thirteenth, day of February, Two Thousand and Eleven in two original copies, both in English.-



(K. Mohandas)                                              (Ml). ABDUL MANNAN HOWLADKR)

Secretary                                                       Secretary

Ministry of Shipping                                    Ministry of Shipping           

Government of India                                   Government of Bangladesh         


on behalf of the                                            on behalf of the

Government of India                                   Government of People's                

Republic of Bangladesh    

Member Area

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