SINDHUPALCHOWK, Sept 24: The operation and management of the Tatopani dry port customs office at Tatopani– one of the two main gateways for trade between Nepal and China– will be done through the private sector for the first time.
A private sector terminal management company has also been selected for this. According to the Inter Model Transport Development Committee (IMTDC), Trans Silk Terminal Private Limited has been given the responsibility of managing and operating this dry port customs for the next five years.
An agreement was signed between the two sides on September 14 regarding the operation and management of dry port customs. According to the agreement, Trans Silk Terminal will formally take over the responsibility of port customs operation and management from Monday, said Ashish Gajurel, Executive Director of the Committee.
"The management and operation of the Tatopani dry port customs office has been given to the private sector for the first time," he said.
The state-of-the-art Tatopani dry port, built with the financial and technical support of the Chinese government, was handed over to Nepal on June 18, 2019. The office was run by the Committee for six months after the handover. Since January 1, 2020, the government-owned Nepal Transport and Warehouse Company Limited has been operating and managing the port.
On May 25, 2022, the committee called for international bidding to give the operation and management of this port to the private sector. Flash Freight Logistics, Valley Terminal JV Kathmandu and Trans Nepal JV Biratnagar had applied. Executive Director Gajurel said that Trans Nepal JV Biratnagar, which received the highest score from the technical and financial proposal evaluation, was selected.
According to Gajurel, Trans Silk Terminal is a Biratnagar-based company. Trans Silk will pay Rs 117 million for five years to the committee for operating and managing the port. Port operation, cleaning, warehouse management, load/unload and parking management, among other things, will now be done by Trans Silk.
The IMTDC claimed that Tatopani dry port customs will be operated in an orderly manner with the responsibility given to the private sector.
Executive Director Gajurel said that the operation and management of the dry port/integrated check post will be done in public-private collaboration using the expertise of the private sector. "With this, the committee believes that trade through Tatopani port will be agile, fast and affordable," he said.