The coal is meant for Rampal power station in Khulna in Bangladesh

India exported the first ever consignment of coal from Netaji Subhas Dock (NSD) of SMP (Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port) Kolkata to Bangladesh on July 2.

The coal is sourced from Dhanbad and going to be exported to Rampal Power Station, Khulna in Bangladesh, a setup by Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company Ltd which is joint venture between India's NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board.

According to several media reports, the first rake of coal, about 4,000 tonnes, is expected to be unloaded at KPD and dispatched to the captive jetty of the power plant. The exporter of coal is Godavari Commodities and it is handled end to end by ZS logistics.

“We expect that about 20,000 tonnes of Indian coal will be sourced from SMP Kolkata to Bangladesh every month,” the ZS logistics said in a release.

According to Vinit Kumar, Chairman, SMP, Kolkata has been declared a hub of Bangladesh for coal and IWT traffic with various incentives.

As a result, bulk traffic to Bangladesh such as rice exports, sponge iron exports, fly ash and coal for Bangladesh has now reached about seven lakh tonnes a year.

The coal-fired unit of the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company was supposed to be completed by December 2020, but the work got delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The time for completion of Bangladesh's largest power plant, also known as Maitree Super Thermal Power Project, has been extended by a year.

Once the unit will run in full capacity, there will be transportation of 20,000 tonnes of coal cargo per month from Kolkata port, the sources said.

Spread over 1,834 acres of land, the power plant is situated 14 kilometres north of Bangladesh part of Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest and an ecologically sensitive area.