Visakhapatnam: The Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is set to receive a shot in the arm for handling cargo bound for the land-locked country of Nepal with the visit of a high-level team from the country visiting the port city in the next couple of days.
Having been declared as the second gateway for exim (export-import) trade with Nepal, the VPT will host a team headed by Nepal government’s chief secretary Somlal Subedi to discuss various modalities involved in commencing cargo handling operations from VPT. The Nepal team is scheduled to be in the port city on June 23-24.
Subedi will interact with various stakeholders such as East Coast Railway, Container Corporation of India, Visakha Container Terminal, Liner Associations and Shipping Agents Association on streamlining the process of cargo movement to Nepal from VPT.
VPT has the deepest container terminal among major ports with permissible draft of 15 meters and LOA upto 320 meters. With majority of the transit cargo of Nepal expected to be from China, VPT said in a release that it can act as an ideal gateway for east bound cargo. Handling of cargo through VPT will be advantageous in terms of ocean freight and liner detention, the major port said.
The agreement between India and Nepal provides for transport of the cargo through the rail route connecting Visakhapatnam-Jogbani or/and Visakhapatnam-Birgunj. In addition to the rail route, four road routes have also been identified. The movement of traffic-in-transit between Port of Visakhapatnam and Nepal will be in sealed containers and in full rake only and the cost of transhipment will be borne by the consignor/consignee, the release added.
So far, Kolkata and Haldia are the only designated ports for transport of the exim cargo of Nepal. Since both these ports are handled by the Kolkata Port Trust, VPT becomes the second gateway for Nepal. To meet the growing transportation requirement of exim cargo, Nepal had been contemplating transit route between Nepal and Visakhapatnam. India is the largest trading partner for Nepal. The ICD (inland container depot) at Birgunj in Nepal is a rail connected terminal around 5.4 kms away from the Raxoul station of Indian Railways. The north and south highways in Nepal are connected to the Indian border and serve the exim trade.
According to VPT sources, the major port is expecting cargo of at least 600-700 containers per month initially from and to Nepal, which would subsequently be scaled upto around 1,000 containers or more depending on the cargo volumes.