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* Sri Lanka, Bangladesh to sign coastal shipping agreement to boost trade
Thu, May 1, 2014, 12:31 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have agreed to enhance shipping connectivity between the two countries to expand the bilateral trade and commerce.

Following a seminar that was organized in connection with the first Bangladesh-Sri Lanka joint working group meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan told media Wednesday that the shipping connectivity between Dhaka and Colombo would strengthen the bilateral relations.

"With the shipping connectivity, bilateral relations between the two South Asian nations would also be strengthened," the Minister said while inaugurating the seminar on 'Increasing maritime connectivity between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka: Reality and possibilities'.

He said the measure would help increase efficiency of the port authorities and create more employment which would pay significant contribution to the economic progress of the two countries.

The Bangladesh-Sri Lanka joint working group was formed last year in Colombo for increasing trade and commerce through merchant shipping.

In the second session of the seminar, Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Dhaka W.A Sarath K. Weragoda gave welcome address where Chairman of Sri Lanka Port Authority Dr. Priyath B Wickrama presented the key note paper.

During the forum the two countries agreed to sign a coastal shipping agreement aiming to boost bilateral trade and investment between the two countries, officials said.

Following the meeting Chairman of Sri Lanka Port Authority has said that coastal shipping agreement between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will ensure benefits for both countries.

"We will provide preferential facilities on berthing and competitive tariff for port services for Bangladeshi shipping sector," Dr. Wickrama, has told the Financial Express.

Sri Lanka will offer Bangladesh priority berthing, higher productivity, handling of empty containers, and special rebate for port handling charges for Bangladeshi vessels, the official has said.

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