April 7: Kolkata and Haldiya ports of India have decided to waive the fines on containers and bulk cargoes as a relief to the business hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kolkata Port, which is the preferred destination of Nepali businessmen for third-country trade, issued a notice stating that the facility will be provided to containers unloaded between March 22 to April 14.
“We have given this facility because of the difficulty created by Covid 19. This facility will be applied in Haldiya port as well,” said Binit Kumar, chairman of the Kolkata Port Trust. Haldiya Port is also operated by Kolkata Port Trust. Kumar said that 50 percent relief has been provided in terminal operation fee.
During the normal times, the charge per containers is Rs 1,000 to 1,500. Almost 60 percent of Nepal-bound containers through India come from Kolkata.
Indian Railways has also deducted fines for demurrage and wharfage. Indian Railways Ministry has already sent notice to all the regional offices regarding the relief.
Fear created due to corona infection case in Haldiya
The staff in Haldiya Port are gripped by fear of corona infection among one of their colleagues. The staff tested positive on Saturday. Due to this, all other workers are kept in quarantine said the port management.
According to Binit Kumar, the port is regularly spreading insecticides and sanitizers to maintain safety. He said that the port has facility of doctors for 24 hours a day. Amidst the fear, the importers have not been able to go to the port.
Stockpile of container at Birgunj Dry Port
Almost all the containers coming from India and third countries are stuck at the customs office of Birgunj Dry Port due to lockdown. According to Animesh Kumar, senior officer of Himalayan Terminal that looks after the port administration, only 13 containers departed from the Birgunj Dry Port to their respective destinations. The dry port with capacity of 1542 containers now has to stockpile 2,645 containers. According to the dry port, 26 cargo trains carrying 2340 containers are due to arrive at the port. The Birgunj Dry Port is concerned about the management of the containers.