Nepal-bound container train flagged off
The first rake to Nepal, comprising 90 containers, was flagged off by Visakhapatnam Port Trust Chairman Mr. M.T Krishna Babu, IAS at the Visakha Container Terminal Private Limited (VCTPL), in Visakhapatnam last fortnight.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Krishna Babu said Nepal government had notified Visakhapatnam as the second port of call after Kolkata-Haldia and this is the first time a full-fledged rail rake is going to Nepal from Visakhapatnam. “We expect the volumes to grow in future, as the draft at the VCTPL here is much deeper than at Kolkata-Haldia and bigger vessels can be handled here,” he said. Mr. Krishnababu said it should be possible for Visakhapatnam to compete with Kolkata-Haldia by reducing the logistics cost, though the latter had the advantage of much shorter distance.
Mr. Krishna Babu said the congestion factor was much low here and the turnaround time for the vessel could be brought down. “It should be possible to send one train in a week from here to Nepal,” he said. He further added that exporters and importers of Nepal were evincing interest in Visakhapatnam and, as of now, only container cargo was being allowed. At a later stage, bulk cargo might also be considered, he said.
Traditionally Kolkata and Haldia have been the gateway for Nepal for some time now. Customs has established a well-defined SOP for movement of goods in transit from Kolkata to four customs entry points in Nepal.
Baharaich-Nepalgunj, Birgunj-Raxaul, Biratnagar-Jogbani and Sonauli-Bhairahawa are the four entry points for Nepal cargo. Goods are transported by both road and rail to Nepal. Rail link is only valid through Raxaul-Birgunj entry point. Other borders open only for road bound consignment from Kolkata and other bilateral trade movement.
VCTPL Chief Operating Officer Sushil Moolchandani expressed confidence that the volumes from Visakhapatnam to Nepal would grow in view of the potential of the terminal.
Divisional Railway Manager MS Mathur, Commissioner of Customs Mr. D.K. Srinivas, Managing Director of Visakha Container Terminal Private Limited (VCTPL) Vir Krishna Kotak and VPT Deputy Chairman Mr. P.L. Harnadh were present.