Kathmandu, August 25
The volume of imports from Bhairahawa, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Krishnanagar and Rasuwa customs points increased substantially in the previous fiscal year.
Though Birgunj is still the major gateway, with one-third of the country’s total imports entering through this customs point, the volume of imports through Birgunj dry port fell substantially in the previous fiscal, according to Department of Customs (DoC).
Share of imports via Birgunj dry port in total imports came down to 10.5 per cent in previous fiscal 2017-18, compared to 14.2 per cent in fiscal 2016-17.
The major reason for the drop in imports via Birgunj dry port was congestion in unloading the bulk cargo — iron ore, chemical fertilisers — according to DoC officials.
The share of imports via Birgunj in total imports dropped as the government of India cut off facility to unload dirty cargo — clinker, coal, fly ash — at railway sidings in Raxaul of India.
On the other hand, the Indian government has allowed the movement of Nepal-bound cargo to Bathnaha (India) — nearest railhead from Biratnagar in the previous fiscal.
According to Bhim Ghimire, president of Chamber of Industries Morang, traders have imported huge amount of sugar utilising that facility.
As per the DoC, share of imports through Biratnagar increased to 12.3 per cent of the total imports in fiscal 2017-18, compared to 11 per cent in 2016-17.
Similarly, share of imports through Bhairahawa in total imports reached 18 per cent in previous fiscal from 17 per cent in 2016-17, according to DoC.
After the government of India prevented the unloading of dirty cargo at the railway sidings in Raxaul, cement factories in the western region imported clinker and fly ash directly from Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj.
Ghimire of Chamber of Industries Morang said that the congestion at the dry port in Birgunj could be minimised if the government negotiated with the Indian government to allow movement of Nepal-bound cargo to the nearest railhead of the major customs points in the country.
|Customs||Fiscal 2016-17||Fiscal 2017-18||Change|
|Bhairahawa Customs Office||Rs 171.24bn||Rs 224.03bn||30.80%|
|Biratnagar Customs Office||Rs 109.22bn||Rs 152.94bn||40%|
|Birgunj Customs Office||Rs 328.84bn||Rs 421.94bn||28.30%|
|Birgunj Dry Port Customs Office||Rs 141.07bn||Rs 130.64bn||-7.40%|
|Kailali Customs Office||Rs 12.31bn||Rs 17.58bn||42.80%|
|Krishnanagar Customs Office||Rs 17.67bn||Rs 26.60bn||50.50%|
|Mechi Customs Office||Rs 30.44bn||Rs 37.58bn||23.50%|
|Nepalgunj Customs Office||Rs 30587.5||Rs 45.08bn||47.40%|
|Rasuwa Customs Office||Rs 15.74bn||Rs 22.65bn||43.90%|
A version of this article appears in print on August 26, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.