Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

After resuming export since September 15, about 288,516.96 metric tonnes (MT) of boulders and aggregates have been exported to Bangladesh and India from Phuentsholing.

Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA) maintains the figures.

Export of boulders and aggregates were suspended on March 23 with the closure of the international border gate.

As of yesterday, about 150 truckloads of boulders and aggregates exit from Phuentsholing on a daily basis.

Boulder worth USD 5.34 million (M) has been exported to Bangladesh so far and boulder and aggregates worth Nu 6.82M has been exported to India.

Today, one metric tonne of boulders exported to Bangladesh fetches a minimum of USD 18 to USD 20.

Although boulder is exported, dredging has stopped for a long time now. No dredging works were allowed since December 2018. All the materials exported today are stocked materials.

Boulder was the second most exported product for the last two years. Bhutan exported boulders worth Nu 4.9 billion (B) in 2019 and Nu 2.1B in 2018.

In 2017, when boulder export started, Bhutan exported boulders worth Nu 690M and it was the eighth most exported product.

According to the “provisional Bhutan Trade Statistics (BTS),” prior to the nationwide lockdown, from January and June, Bhutan exported boulders worth Nu 899.9M. It still was the third most exported commodity until June.

One of the exporters, Pema, said boulder export has to increase to improve the country’s economy.

“Phuentsholing has potential areas for dredging.”