The dry port of Larcha in Sindhupalchowk is on the last leg of construction and the bridge over Bhote Koshi River that connects the dry port with the Araniko Highway. Photos: Dhruba Dangal/Republica
SINDHUPALCHOWK, April 29: The government has begun internal preparations to bring the Tatopani trade route along Nepal-China into operation from mid-June. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has stated that the trade route will coming into operation once the Chinese government hands over Larcha Dry Port to Nepal.
The dry port is being built by the Chinese government.
The reopening of the trade point, which has remained shut since the 2015 earthquakes, is looking possible as most of the infrastructure in Tatopani, which were damaged in the earthquakes, have been rehabilitated.
Construction work on Larcha Dry Port has already completed. Similarly, the bridge that links Nepal with China has already been rehabilitated, while the road is in need of some maintenance.
“We have started preparations for reopening of the Tatopani trade point. However, the handover of Larch Dry Port is essential for reopening the trade route,” said Navaraj Dhakal, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies.
China plans to handover the dry point to Nepal by May 20.
High-level meetings between Nepal and China have already agreed to bring the trade route into operation by May. The ministry has entity has already instructed food and quarantine offices and security agencies accordingly.
The construction of Larcha Dry Port began six years ago. It got delayed because of the 2015 earthquakes which caused severe damages in the project site.
After the Tatopani trade route was closed due to the 2015 earthquakes, the government has opened Rasuwagadhi trade point for trade with China. China has also designated Rasuwagadhi as international border crossing.
Officials of the ministry say that trade with China will become easier once the trade route comes into operation. Unlike in the past, traders needn’t go across the border up to Khasa bazaar to import goods from China.
Once the dry port comes into operation, all the containers from China will directly enter the dry port where customs and other formalities will be carried out. Similarly, China-bound exports will also be processed at the dry port itself.