Third-country trade via Vizag Port soon

Kathmandu, June 25

The government will soon call on traders for export and import of cargoes from Visakhapatnam (Vizag) Port, which has been designated as the second gateway for third-country trade after Kolkata-Haldia.

To convey the symbolic message, the port trust has also started movement of containerised cargoes to and from Nepal on Friday, during the visit of Nepali authorities led by Chief Secretary Somlal Subedi and comprising commerce secretary, secretary from the prime minister’s office and executive director of Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) at the Vizag port.

After the letters of exchange (LoEs) on Operationalisation of Vizag Port was signed in February during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to India, the Indian finance ministry recently sent a notification to the Vizag Port Trust.

Yesterday, the Nepali team led by Chief Secretary Subedi had held discussions with Chairman of Port Trust MT Krishna Babu and representatives from Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Finance and chief customs commissioner regarding how the Visakhapatnam Port could support Nepal in minimising the high costs of trade through effective and efficient


Though the port has been formally opened for Nepal, there are some procedural steps that need to be concluded, according to Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyay.

“We have to finalise some of the crucial practical issues, like parking yard, turnaround period of shipping line containers, warehouse facility, grace period to release cargoes from the port (by road and by rail), among others,” he explained.

The Nepali delegation also discussed possibilities of direct onward movement of Nepal-bound cargoes to Birgunj dry port. The Department of Customs has been developing electronic data interchange (EDI) system for the purpose to eliminate any hassles for the direct onward movement of Nepal-bound cargoes to the Birgunj dry port.

During the meeting, the port trust expressed interest to organise a stakeholders’ meet with participation of Nepali freight forwarders, traders and customs house agents, among others to address the aforementioned issues.

It is reported that the country can utilise rail transit facility from Vizag Port based on the existing Railway Service Agreement (RSA).

“The port, however, is around an additional 600 km further away as compared to Kolkata Port. But the efficiency of the Vizag Port may minimise the costs to the traders in importing and exporting through Kolkata Port,” said Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of NITDB.

The private sector has also been seeking establishment of consulate general’s office at Vizag Port and statutory representative of Nepal government to provide warehousing facility at the port. Currently, the Nepal Transit and Warehousing Company has been working as representative of the government to provide warehousing facilities at Kolkata-Haldia Port.

Traders have been facing raft of problems, such as procedural delays, additional costs like detention and demurrage charges, among others at the Kolkata-Haldia Port.

With the option of conducting trade through Vizag Port, traders are expected to be able to conduct third-country trade at competitive costs.