September 11: The volume of Nepal’s foreign trade has declined due to the lockdown and prohibitory order imposed by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Domestic production as well as daily consumption market has shrunk because of the impact of Covid-19. As a result, import from third countries has declined greatly during the last five months.
According to Laxman Khadka, chief of the Kolkata-based Nepal Transshipment and Warehouse Management Company (NTWC), Nepal-bound shipments have decreased by 23 percent during the lockdown period.
Altogether 31,851 containers (20 feet) have left for Nepal from Kolkata and Visakhapatman between April to August of the current fiscal year. The number of containers that left for Nepal during the corresponding period of last fiscal year was 41,486, according to NTWC.
Almost 90 percent of Nepal’s overseas trade take place through Indian ports. Importers say that Nepal’s foreign trade has been growing every year by 10 to 15 percent. However, this year, statistics show that the country’s foreign trade has declined due to Covid-19 crisis.
“In an average, around 300 Nepal-bound containers had arrived at the ports of Kolkata and Visakhapatnam during the month of August last year. But the number has dropped to 224 at present,” said NTWC chief Khadka.
The government had lifted the lockdown imposed since March 24 on the third week of July. But the local authorities again imposed prohibitory orders a month later, bringing the business down again.