Heralding a new chapter in the Indo-Bangladesh maritime trade and bilateral cooperation, a direct shipping service was launched between Krishnapatnam and Chittagong ports at a ceremony held at the Krishnapatnam port here on Monday.The direct service is expected to significantly reduce transportation cost thereby boost the already promising exports of cotton, steel, tyres, minerals, and other goods to Bangladesh. It is said 50 per cent cotton imported by Bangladesh is from India.Today’s event marked the berthing of the first historic vessel named MV Harbour-1 which arrived at the Krishnapatnam Port Container Terminal (KPCT) here amid high expectations among exporters and importers on future opportunities for industry and trade between the two countries.Dignitaries who graced the occasion included Member of Bangladesh Parliament Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury, Neepa Paribahan chief executive officer Md. Sirajuddin Rahaman, Krishnapatnam port chief executive officer Anil Yendluri and chief operating officer S. Subba Rao.The new direct service would not just be limited to Chittagong but it would be stretched up to Pangaon inland container port located at just 15 km from the capital city Dhaka.Named the Krishnapatnam-Pangaon weekly direct service, the new shipping line was welcomed by the traders on both sides as it would greatly reduce the transit cost and also saves a lot on time. Dhaka-based Neepa Paribahan, which has long experience in shipping, operates these direct services.On the occasion, Mr. Chowdhury termed the event as a historic one in the Indo-Bangladesh ties considering the fact that this happened after the agreement was signed between the two countries at the level of the Prime Ministers.Stating that Bangladesh had high potential with its exports to US and Europe touching 31.5 billion US $ last year, Mr. Chowdhury said that the new shipping service would prove to be a win-win situation for both Bangladesh and India by making effective use of the Krishnapatnam port. Mr. Anil referred to the records set by the Krishnapatnam port in ushering in landmark developments such as the launch of Indo-Bangla direct shipping service within eight years of the commencement of the port operations.”The economy of Bangladesh is strong and they export garments in a big way. They are importing raw cotton and tyres from India. We would like Krishnapatnam to be a gateway port for them and things are moving in that direction,” he said.