BIRGUNJ, Nov 5: Nepal has been losing a huge sum of money in delay fees for import of goods due to constant traffic in international ports. However, an additional terminal in Kolkata port has been made available for Nepal, which is expected to considerably ease the country's imports.
Majerhat terminal in Kolkata port is now used for transportation of Nepali cargo by CONCOR, a sister organization of the Indian railway that has been transporting Nepali containers to and from Sirsiya dry port of Birgunj.
Nepali cargo had long faced a lack of space to load and unload at the Kolkata port, situated on the banks of the Hooghly River connecting Kolkata to the Bay of Bengal.
Although negotiations were started long ago to use the Majerhat terminal, the proposal was approved by the Kolkata Port Trust on October 1 this year.
Stressing on the significance of this development, Bishnu Kant Chaudhary, CEO of Himalayan Terminals that has been managing the Birgunj dry port, said: “A very important step has been taken, while the cargo could only be loaded and unloaded in the port previously, this can now be done in the newly added terminal as well”.
Chaudhary said this would have a very positive influence in Nepal's entire trade.
Between October 1 to 31, a total of 1,440 loaded containers of 20ft have entered into Nepal on 16 rakes via Majerhat terminal, whereas 32 rakes were dispatched from Kolkata Port in the same time out of which 29 have reached the Birgunj dry port.
“This has been the fastest transport of cargo we have ever had,” said Chaudhary.
Due to huge number of Nepali containers being stuck at the port in the past two months, the nation has been liable to big delay fines.
The availability of Majerhat port has indeed been a great relief to those who are managing imports, according to container handling agents.
“The problem of timely delivery and return of the cargo was always a major one. The news of an additional terminal has relieved us to a great extent,” said Mohan Bandaru, director of Rivaro Overseas, which has been handling cargos for Nepal.
Expressing regrets toward the inability of the government to make use of excess space under its ownership, Ashok Temani, member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said: “We had previously insisted with the concerned authority to make use of Majarhaat terminal. Now just as we started using this terminal, the land owned by the Transport and Warehouse Management Company at the same place should also be brought to use."