National

Beijing ‘sends’ freight train for Nepal

  • Departed from Lanzhou as first combined transport service to Kathmandu on Wednesday
- SANJEEV GIRI, BEIJING

May 13, 2016-

China has opened its first combined transport service (rail and road) to Nepal with an international freight train departing from Lanzhou, the capital city of northwestern China’s Gansu province, for Kathmandu, on Wednesday.

People’s Daily of China reported that the final destination of the international freight train is Kathmandu, but rail transport will change over to road transport in Shigatse (Xigaze), Tibet.

It will take 10 day for the consignment to reach Kathmandu, the newspaper reported.

The journey includes 2,431 kilometres of rail transport from Lanzhou to Shigatse, 564 kilometres of road transport from Shigatse to Kyirong (Geelong Port) and 160 kilometres of road transport from Kyirong to Kathmandu.

Altogether, the combined transport takes 35 days fewer than traditional ocean transport would, according to the paper.

On the development, Nepali officials and businessmen said though Nepal and China have recently signed Transit Transport Agreement, it will take great commitments from both the sides to make this combined route commercially feasible.

Nepali officials in Beijing and Kathmandu, however, said they were not aware about the international freight train leaving China for Kathmandu and that they had read reports about it.

The Nepali Embassy in Beijing said it has no official information regarding the international freight.

“I got to know about the freight train with destination Kathmandu through news reports. The event seems to be private in nature,” said Nirmal Raj Kafle, deputy head of Nepali mission in Beijing. “It could be an one-off event as well.”

An official at the Ministry of Commerce in Kathmandu said “multiple talks” were held in the past with the Chinese government for connecting Shigatse-Keyirong, the border point of Nepal-China through railway. “However, no further efforts have been made by our government in recent times,” said the source.

Purushottam Dhungel, consul officer at Lhasha, Tibet, also seemed to have received the information through media reports. Nevertheless, Dhungel said that officials from Lanzhou had visited Nepal on multiple occasions. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen economic cooperation between Kathmandu and Langzhou, according to him.

“On March 4, Deputy Party Secretary of Lanzhou Municipality Wuduo Mao

had visited Nepal,” said Dhungel. “We had informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu about the visit.”

On May 5, an official of Langzhou Municipality had visited consul office at Lhasa and informed that a cargo train would leave for Nepal this week, according to Dhungel.

“The official neither informed about goods being shipped nor about the receiver of the goods in Nepal,” he added.

The consul officer at Lhasa said they have got unconfirmed information that

these goods have been ordered by traders who used to import products via Tatopani route.

Around six Chinese people including two journalists have acquired visa for Nepal and are on board the train.

Published: 13-05-2016 08:52

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