Colombo, Sri Lanka (BBN)-Bangladesh can slash shipping times to Europe, US and Canada East Coast, the Middle and Africa by transshipping from Colombo, Sri Lanka's ports agency chief has said.

A delegation made up of Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Wickrama, Additional ports ministry secretary Anuradha Wijekoon and Chairman Ceylon Shipping Corporation Jayanath Colombage had visited Bangladesh in this regard, reports

They had met Bangladesh Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Secretary Syed Monjurul Islam and chairmen of Chittagong and Mongla ports agencies.

"Discussions were focused to increase connectivity between Bangladesh and Sri Lankan ports, establishment of coastal shipping, explore investment opportunities and consultancy services in the port sector," SLPA said in a statement.

An agreement to promote shipping connectivity between the two countries had been signed.

Bangladesh major exports are destined to USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and are currently moved by feeder vessels via transshipment hubs of Singapore, Colombo, Port Kelang and Tanjung Pelapas.

Wickrema ha said export containers can get lower rates and slash the time taken to reach ports in the US East Coast, Canada, Europe, the Mediterranean, Gulf and Africa by four days by transshipping containers through Colombo.

Feeder calls between Bangladesh had already started to rise, SLPA said.

SLPA has also highlighted opportunities to investment in industrial zones near Hambantota and Trincomalee ports and offered consultancy services to Bangladesh ports.

The newly commissioned Colombo International Container Terminal had increased capacity at the port by 2.4 million twenty foot equivalents a year.

BBN/ANS/AD-08May14-12:20am (BST)