Kathmandu, September 11
The first goods train that left Visakhapatnam port, also known as Vizag port, carrying Nepal-bound cargo with electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) arrived at the Inland Clearance Depot in Birgunj on Monday after 13 days. This was the first transhipment facility from Visakhapatnam port.
“The cargo train with 61 containers on board had left Vizag port on August 29,” according to Ravi Shanker Sainju, joint secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies. “This is a completely revolutionary customs procedure and traders were jubilant as they will no longer have to file customs declaration in India, or hire a customs house agent (CHA) or run after transporters and Container Corporation (CONCOR) – subsidiary of Indian Railways that is authorised to ferry Nepal-bound cargo.”
This is the first time that Nepal-bound cargo arrived directly to Nepal’s land port without any interface of documents at the transit port – Visakhapatnam.
This transhipment from Vizag was initiated as a pilot phase. Officials of both Nepal and India have reached a conclusion that the ECTS is effective to facilitate traffic-in-transit between Nepal and India on selected routes.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was entrusted with the responsibility of selecting a service provider through a global tender for execution of the pilot project. ADB has brought the latest electronic locking and tracking technology for Nepal.
Joint Secretary Sainju further stated that the transhipment facility with the help of ECTS can be a long-term mechanism as the governments of Nepal and India are preparing to amend the Transit Treaty and Railway Service agreement. “This will change the landscape of Nepal’s third-country trade in terms of minimising cost, time and hassles in transit,” Sainju reiterated.
“There will be huge savings in transport costs, CHA hiring expenses, and demurrage and port charges because of this procedure.”
The Commissioner of Customs at Vizag port in the first week of August had issued a notification stating that the facility will be provided to Nepal-bound cargo containers using electronic cargo tracking system.
A version of this article appears in print on September 12, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.