Dhaka, Colombo to sign MoU on using port facilities

Dhaka and Colombo would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) soon on using various facilities at ports on reciprocal basis.

The decision came at the first ever secretary-level meeting between

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, held today at the Shipping Ministry in the capital.

Secretary of the Shipping Ministry Ashok Madhab Roy led the meeting when Sri Lanka Ports and Shipping Secretary LP Jayampathi headed his team.

Bangladesh would use the facilities at the Colombo Port once the MoU is signed, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan told the bilateral meeting, said an official quoting him.

He said the shipping sector would also get a boost after signing the Coastal Shipping Agreement with Sri Lanka.

"After signing of the agreement, Bangladesh would get tariff concession and berthing facilities at Sri Lankan port when shipping time toward different destinations would also be shorter via Colombo Port," Roy told BSS.

He said the agreement would also create scope of more employment in the shipping sector, with increasing shipments as Sri Lankan cadets would receive training from our marine academy.

The meeting discussed on berthing facility at ports in Sri Lanka, tariff concession and launching of feeder services between Chittagong and Colombo Ports.

Both the counties also discussed on introducing feeder service, ship lease and purchase, meeting between government and non-government stakeholders, training and employment for Bangladeshi mariners and visa simplification.

At the meeting, it was also decided to introduce cargo vessels service in the first phase followed by crew vessels service.

Earlier in the morning, the visiting team met shipping minister Shahjahan Khan at his office.

Among others, Mongla Port Authority chairman Rear Admiral Riazuddin Ahmed, shipping ministry additional secretary Rafiqul Islam, commerce ministry joint secretary Munir Chowdhury, Managing Director of Bangladesh Shipping Corporation Commodore M Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan, foreign ministry director general (South Asia) Monowar Hossain were present at the meeting form Bangladesh side, while Director General Of Merchant Shipping Secretariat Ajith Senaviratne, Port Authority Chairman Dammika Ranatunga, Silon Shipping Corporation Limited Chairman Shashi Dhanatunge, Sri Lankan Charge de affairs to Dhaka Sesath Thambugala and Port Authority chief manager Upul Jayatissa took part in the meeting from Sri Lankan side.

A six-member Sri Lankan delegation was present at the meeting.

Bangladesh and India had already signed the coastal shipping agreement.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)