Kathmandu, August 28:

Sirshiya Dryport in Birgunj could not meet its target for the fiscal year 2063-64 BS.

Traders blame ineffective operation for the decrease in imports and exports. Hemendra Mohan Shahi, assistant manager of Nepal Multimodel Transport Development Committee (NMTDC) agrees, “The effective operation is a must.”

Himalayan Terminal — that has been operating the port for the last three years — has incurred Rs 60 million loss. Now government is planning a concept of ‘revenue sharing’. Earlier, the Terminal had agreed to pay Rs 950 million to the government in ten years.

Around 16,000 containers were estimated to pass through the port. But in the last fiscal year, 11,8,53 containers were imported and only 2,39 containers of goods were exported, according to NMTDC.

In the first year of operation, 5000 containers and in the second year only 9500 container passed through the port. The number is much lesser than the estimated figure.

An efficient transit transport system is a prerequisite for trade promotion. “Trade logistics, physical infrastructure, simplification, alignment and harmonisation of trade and transport related documents and custom reforms are the most important issues that need to address to effectively run the port,” says Rajan Sharma, general secretary of Nepal Freight Forwarders’ Association (NEFFA) adding that the government promised a lot in the begining and could not deliver.

The transit transportation for Nepal’s foreign trade is characterised by poor transport infrastructure and cumbersome custom procedures, which directly makes transport cost high and causes unreliable and slow movement of import/export goods, leading to trade diversion resulting in increased unauthorised trade.