In a move boosting Nepal trade, the Government of Nepal is keen on leveraging the infrastructure potential of the Indian port city Vishakhapatnam.
In line with its traders’ response, Nepal is mulling to utilize the Vizag port as a transit for its imports from the third-world countries.
In this regard, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has recently held discussions with Nepal Transit and Warehousing Co Ltd., the organization dealing as a customs agent for government cargoes.
For Nepali traders, the trade via Vizag is more predictable than that of the Kolkata Port owing to its riverine infrastructure that doesn’t allow any further expansion. Its capabilities have also been limited to just handle feeder vessels.
Inefficiency and limited capabilities of the Kolkata Port such as costs and infrastructure limitations are resulting in high detention and demurrage charges for Nepali traders while shipping liners due to delays in clearing containers on the port.
“Lack of transparency and involvement of middlemen in different layers result in high cost of trade from Kolkata, hence Nepali industries importing raw materials through Kolkata port are less competitive,” say the MoC officials.
Owing to these challenges, MoC Nepal feels Vizag port could be an advantage because of its transparent services, cost and time saving features and effective handling of shipping liners and mother vessels thus reducing the ocean freight costs.
Clearing the traders ‘confusion and doubts over usage of Vizag port, the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board informed, “Traders will not have to face hassles and incur unforeseen costs of trade and there will be predictability in delivery of cargo if they utilize Vizag port.”
“Traders should take up the next best option to minimize the time and cost of the country’s foreign trade, which will ultimately help tame inflation because inflation in import-based economies like Nepal is driven to a large extent by the supply side hassles,” say the government officials.
Chemical fertilizers, IT-related and aircraft equipment, arms and ammunition and machinery are some of the key imports now the government is keen on importing through Vizag port.