Effective Transportation is the Foundation of Competitive Business: Stakeholders

  4 min 9 sec to read
Effective Transportation is the Foundation of Competitive Business: Stakeholders

BIRGUNJ: Stakeholders have emphasized that the country’s transport infrastructure should be comprehensively improved to enhance foreign trade competitiveness.

Speaking at the 'Nepal-India Multimodal Logistics and Connectivity Summit-2024,' organized by the Madhes Province chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce India and the Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stakeholders discussed ways to make Nepal's foreign trade more effective through improved Nepal-India trade and transportation between Nepal and India.

Panellists highlighted the need for infrastructure reform and a review of the Nepal-India Trade and Transit Treaty.

Ishwarraj Paudel, Nepal’s Consul General in Kolkata, India, stated that treaties, agreements, and understandings related to Nepal's foreign trade should be effectively implemented. He mentioned that the government is revising bilateral, regional, and multilateral agreements related to foreign trade as needed.

Two-thirds of Nepal's trade is with India, which is both the main export market for Nepal and the country’s major source of foreign imports. Paudel noted that trade relations with India are particularly significant. In the current fiscal year 2080/81, Nepal imported goods worth Rs 1300 billion, with Rs 800.15 billion coming from India alone. Out of Rs 126 billion in exports, Rs 86 billion were exported to India.

Paudel also pointed out that the Tajpur sea port, being built in West Bengal by India's Adani Group and expected to be operational by 2025, could be more useful for Nepal. The port is located 880 km from Birgunj, Nepal's main customs point. Currently, Nepal uses Kolkata, Haldiya, and Visakhapatnam ports for trade with third countries.

Indian Consul General Devi Sahay Meena in Birgunj said that India is working to improve infrastructure at the border crossings with Nepal to facilitate trade. Infrastructure such as integrated check posts (ICPs), ports, railways, and roads in border areas have been improved to facilitate trade. Meena mentioned that India has granted duty-free entry and concessions to certain products to promote exports from Nepal.

Ashok Kumar Temani, president of the Madhes Province chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, emphasized the need to improve the infrastructure and efficient operation of customs, dry ports, and ICPs to facilitate trade. He also suggested installing X-ray machines at all checkpoints to control illegal trade. Temani called for all Indian ports to be accessible for Nepal’s use, noting that this would provide both sea access for Nepal and business for Indian ports, making port operations faster and more economical.

Ashish Gajurel, executive director of the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Committee, stated that the government is committed to multimodal transportation. Besides the dry ports at Birgunj, Chobhar, and Tatopani, plans are underway to open a dry port in Rasuwa by July 2025. Gajurel noted that inter-governmental discussions for a port in Dodhara Chandani are progressing, and work on the Nepalgunj Integrated Checkpoint (ICP) is 35 percent complete. Progress has also been made in Bhairahawa, and dusty cargo management has started at the Birgunj dry port. Discussions with the private sector for operating trains at the Biratnagar ICP are ongoing, and the government plans to create logistics hubs in all seven provinces.

Sushil Bhatt, Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Board Nepal, stated that transformational plans in the transport and infrastructure sectors are progressing. He mentioned that a detailed feasibility study of the Seti Reservoir project is being conducted, with a report expected by September.

Abhishek Chaudhary, president of the Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry Birgunj, called for the effective implementation of trade and transit agreements and policies between Nepal and India, highlighting the need for improved transportation infrastructure to promote investment.


No comments yet. Be the first one to comment.