Detour routes raise costs

  • Bhimnagar-Bhantabari route
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 1, 2017-

Nepali importers have complained that they are being forced to pay higher charges by customs house agents (CHAs) for using alternate routes to ship cargo from Kolkata to Biratnagar after the railway line linking it with Jogbani in India was damaged by the recent floods.

They said that shipments bound for the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Birgunj had also been affected as CHAs are reluctant to use the route. After a bridge and railway track at the Biratnagar-Jogbani customs point were damaged by floodwaters, Nepali traders have been using the Bhimnagar-Bhantabari small customs checkpoint to ship goods to and from India. 

The Indian Customs Office in Patna has allowed Nepali traders to use alternative routes for trade until the old routes are repaired. 

Nepali traders said that CHAs in Kolkata Port had hiked shipping charges citing the longer distances involved. Rajan Sharma, former president of the Nepal Freight Forwarders’ Association, said CHAs had increased freight charges by more than 80 percent to reroute shipments. 

“The agents have raised the rate up to IRs3,800 per tonne from IRs2,100 per tonne,” Sharma said. According to him, the detour route is 100 km longer. 

“This is likely to increase trading costs significantly,” he said. 

The recent floods damaged a bridge in Mirjungghat and railway track in Jogbani, completely halting the movement of container trucks. Nepali traders accused agents in Kolkata Port of not dispatching cargo to the ICD in Birgunj as they could earn more by rerouting it through other places. 

Published: 01-09-2017 08:34

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