Nepal, India to discuss ICD in Kolkata

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 19:

Nepali and Indian officials from both the private and public sectors are going to hold extensive talks related to the problems surrounding the Inland Container Depot (ICD) that is situated in Birgunj, Sirsiya. The talks are scheduled for May 7 in Kolkata. Despite the ICD becoming operational for the last eight months, it has not been able to evolve an easy procedure for the export industry. Nepali exporters are still hesitating to export through Birgunj ICD, due to a lack of awareness, insecurity and high transportation costs. Surya Bahadur Manandhar, executive director of Nepal Inter-Modal Transport Development Board (NITDB), a government undertaking, talking to The Himalayan Times said, “Both countries’ freight forwarding and export related players will be participating in the talks aimed at seeking amicable ways and means to boost export through the ICD in close coordination with the Indian railways and other related institutions.”

Manandhar informed that representatives related to shipping lines, freight forwarders’ Indian

customs office, Indian railways operators, traders, port authorities of India, Nepal freight forwarders people, Birgunj chambers and Royal Nepalese Consular General office in Kolkata will participate in the meeting. He said that all participants would focus on problems faced by Nepali exporters, freight forwarders and importers. The talks will focus on ‘Nepalese Trade Expansion through ICD: Challenges and Opportunities’, he informed. About 60 people are expected to participate in the talks from India and Nepal, he informed. G K Mohanty, general manager of Kolkata regional office of Container Corporation (CONCOR) of India that operates and manages ICD in Birgunj will present a paper on the above issue.

Mohanty is also the CEO of Himalayan Terminals which is located at Birgunj that manages ICD. On behalf of Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NEFFA), Namgyal Lama, president of the association is going to present a paper. He told The Himalayan Times that he would raise issues of pilferage, timing of cargo goods to and from ICD and high transportation costs. Lama said that he would also hold talks with Indian customs officials regarding issues surrounding the ICD operation. The talks being organised by Nepal’s ministry of industry, commerce and supplies would focus on how export through ICD can be expanded in days ahead, said Manandhar. According to figures, export has gone down by over 40 per cent currently, due to weak infrastructure and lack of facilities for exporters. Exporters want improvement in customs procedures, hassles-free export sector and simplified documents to boost export sector.