September 15: For the first time, a private company of Indian has started providing service for transporting cargo to Nepal through railway. The Consulate of Nepal in Kolkata has informed that Hind Terminals has started such service from Haldia port of India.
Consul General Ishwar Raj Poudel informed New Business Age that a train belonging to Hind Terminals has left for Birgunj Dry Port with 90 containers. The train that left Haldia Port on September 13 will reach Birgunj by September 15, informed Pristine Valley Logistics which operates the Birgunj Dry Port.
Deputy Consul General Tarkaraj Bhatta said that the entry of private service providers in the transportation of goods to Nepal through railways has ended the monopoly in such transportation. "The monopoly has come to an end with the entry of private companies into the railway transport service. This has paved the way for competitive transportation services,” said Bhatta.
The railway service agreement between Nepal and India in 2004 gave a monopoly to the Indian Container Corporation (KONKAR) for rail transport. The agreement was amended only three months ago.
The amended agreement has opened doors for private railway service providers in India and Nepal Railway Company for providing transportation of cargoes. Earlier, KONKAR had a monopoly on the transportation of containers and other cargo from the Indian ports of Kolkata, Haldia, and Visakhapatnam.
The businessmen had been demanding an amendment to the railway service agreement between Nepal and India saying that the fare was arbitrary due to the monopoly. In India, 15 private companies are providing transportation services through railway. Out of them, other companies including KONKAR have shown interest in providing transportation service to Nepal.
Competition among Indian companies is expected to increase after the railway service agreement opens the way for private railway service providers to transport cargo to Nepal.
This will make Nepal's transportation cost competitive, says Ashok Kumar Temani, coordinator of the Transport and Transit Committee under the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Province 2.
Coordinator Temani suggested that Nepal's private sector should also be involved in transportation to make transportation more competitive.
Pristine Logistics InfraProjects, the partner of Pristine Valley, which is currently operating the dry port of Birgunj, will also start service in a few days. Similarly, the JN Buxi group, which operates ports and rail services in India, has also started preparations to transport containers to Birgunj, officials said.