NITDB to invite bids to lease out Kakarvitta dry port

- RAJESH KHANAL, Kathmandu

May 1, 2014-

Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) has planned to call expression of interest (EoI) to lease out the Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) in Kakarbhitta, Jhapa, by the end of this fiscal year.

An autonomous body under Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) has been running the ICD for the last three years. “We will go into the bidding process by the end of this year,” said NITDB Executive Director Sarad Bikram Rana. He said they have decided to lease out the ICD after it failed to generate desired revenue.

The ICD, which was established in 2010, is operating at break-even-point, according to the board. Rana said the government collected Rs 10 million in revenue from ICD last year.

NITDB record shows consignment transactions through the ICD have been on the decline. Imports dropped to 38,231 cargos in 2012-13 from 38,589 in 2011-12. As of mid-March this year, only 25,600 cargos received clearance through the ICD.

Exports have also declined to 13,019 units from 13,434 units over the last two fiscal years, while the number of cargos stood at just 7,204 in the first eight months this fiscal year.

NITDB Manager Hemendra Mohan Shahi said the board is running the ICD management as a “stop-gap arrangement” until a new contractor is appointed.

He also said ICDs help reduce traders’ costs by up to 30 percent compared to shipping through normal routes. “Containers heading for dry ports face relatively less hassles in India, can be transported in bulk directly from the Kolkata port and face easy customs clearance procedures,” said Shahi. “In addition, they also help reduce cross-border illegal trade.”

There are four ICDs in operation in Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Kakadbhiitta. A new dry port is under construction at Larcha near Tatopani Customs, while another one has been planned in Rasuwa.

NITDB has recently called for expression of interest to operate and manage the Birgunj-based ICD as the contract with existing contractor is expiring soon.

The dry port, which handled over 20,000 containers and bagged cargoes last year, generates Rs 75 million annually in lease rent.

The government also collects fixed lease rent worth Rs 10 million each from Biratnagar- and Bhairahawa-based dry ports. The Biratnagar-based ICD, which has the capacity to park 80 trucks, handled 46,360 consignments in the first eight months of this fiscal year. The Bhairahawa-based dry port, with a capacity to part 250 trucks, handled 75,824 shipments over the period.

According to NITDB, about half of the construction work on the Larcha Dry Port has been completed.

The dry port, which has the capacity of handling 158 containers and 35 small vehicles, is being constructed with assistance from the Chinese government.

The board said the port is likely to come into operation by February 2015.

Meanwhile, NITDB has planned to extend the capacity of the Birgunj dry port. It said the extended area will be used for break bulk cargoes of industrial raw materials. “We have planned to expand the port by purchasing 10.5 bighas of land,” said Shahi.

Published: 02-05-2014 09:12

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