Efficiency of ports, acceleration in project implementation stressed

Kathmandu, January 20

Stakeholders have said that the country can substantially reduce the cost of doing business by minimising the cost of trade, however, there should be efficient trade infrastructure in place.

Addressing the 21st anniversary of Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB), the government agency that oversees and manages the dry ports and integrated check posts (ICPs), Chandra Kumar Ghimire, secretary of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), said that minimising the procedures in transit operation, effective transportation system and efficiency of the dry ports will bring down the cost of trade.

“Low cost of trade will be instrumental in industrialisation in the country, which is a must for job creation and sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” said Ghimire, adding, “Initiatives have been taken to minimise the procedural hassles in transit and customs.”

Citing the recent initiative taken by MoC on electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) to track the movement of Nepal-bound cargo containers, Ghimire said that it will ensure the predictability and timely delivery of cargo from the gateway ports — Kolkata/Haldia and Visakhapatnam.

Secretary Ghimire also laid emphasis that the dry ports should be operated in an efficient manner to facilitate traders. He further stressed developing more dry ports and development of special economic zones (SEZs) to facilitate the industries to import raw materials and export from the SEZs.

Ghimire also said that the dry port in Timure in Rasuwa district, to be built under the assistance of the Chinese government, and the Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) and International Exhibition Venue (IEV) that will be constructed in Chobhar of Kathmandu under the assistance of the World Bank, will help develop an

effective supply mechanism and unleash the potential of industrialisation on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley.

He also informed that the government has planned to develop an IEV in each province to enable the provinces to organise expos to showcase their production and potential through which they will get an opportunity to expand economic activities.

Speaking in the programme, Bhawani Rana, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that trade facilitation has a huge role to minimise the cost of production. “We cannot be competitive in cost of production unless we can minimise the cost of trade,” she said, adding, “In this regard, NITDB has been working effectively in trade facilitation.”

Former commerce secretary Purushottam Ojha, highlighted that only a high number of dry ports will not help the country’s trade regime unless the cost of trade can be minimised. He stated that the development of dry ports and cross-border trade infrastructure is being driven on the initiative of the development partners more than the country’s own initiative. Ojha also underlined the need for a transit and logistic policy to clear the hassles in transit operation. He further said that the pace of implementing projects has been slow.

Also speaking in the programme, Sharad Bickram Rana, executive director of Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), who previously served as an executive director of NITDB, mentioned that NITDB has to be developed as a regulator instead of just operating the ICDs and ICPs. He argued that NITDB should be transformed into the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Authority.

Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of NITDB, said that the board is putting all its efforts to develop cross-border infrastructure, award contracts to private parties for effective and efficient management of ICD terminals and to minimise the procedural delays and hassles in transit by coordinating with various stakeholders.

Dry ports in provincial set up

Kakadvitta (operation)

Province 1

Biratnagar (operation)

Province 1

Birgunj (operation)

Province 2

Tatopani (under construction)

Province 3

Chobhar (proposed)

Province 3

Timure (proposed)

Province 3

Korola, Mustang (proposed)

Province 4

Nepalgunj (proposed)

Province 5

Dodhara Chadani, Kanchanpur (proposed)

Province 7