KATHMANDU, Nov 21: The government has decided to send a team to Visakhapatnam Port, also known as Vizag, in Andhra Pradesh to gather information on establishing logistics for bringing the port into use for third-country trade.
The government decided to send a team to Andhra Pradesh three months after the Vizag Port officials visited Nepal to hold discussion with stakeholders here about using the port for Nepal's third-country trade.
Nepal and India signed a bilateral agreement for using the port for Nepal's third-country trade during the India visit of former Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.
Private sector has welcomed the decision saying that the port could not only be an alternative to the Kolkata port but also facilitates import of industrial raw materials in large scale.
A meeting of the secretaries of the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance chaired by Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi decided to send a team to the Vizag port for finding office space as well as estimating the cost of setting up office and the number of officials required to begin import and export via the port, according to a press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers (OPMCM).
Vizag port can receive larger vessels compared to Kolkata port which can handle only medium-size vessels.“
"The team will find a space to setup our office, suggest us the number of officials and budget required for operating the offi”e," OPMCM Spokesperson Damodar Regmi said.
Regmi said that team will leave for Andhra Pradesh very soon.
The port, however, will not see significant imports/exports initially, according to Regm“. "But it will increase gradually if cost of import/export is lower compared to the Kolkata port."
A unit of Department of Customs and Nepal's Honorary Consulate will also be set up in the Vijag port premises.
The private sector has been saying the cost of import and export, particularly of bulk cargo, through Vizag will come down though Vijag is farther than Kolkata.
They have been saying that the Kolkata port is congested and full of hassles and that the opening of new port could create competition and lead to improvement in services.