Piles of uncleared cargo choke Birgunj dry port

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA

Apr 18, 2018-

Piles of uncleared cargo are choking the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Sirsiya, Birgunj as importers have been reluctant to collect their stuff from the dry port. 

They have even ignored the concessional time provided by shipping agents, and the dry port has been smothered under 137 loaded containers and 598 empty containers. Most of the loaded containers contain raw materials imported by steel industries which have been transported from Kolkata port and Tatanagar, India. The rest of the containers are filled with imported goods transported from Vishakhapatnam port. 

Bishnukant Chaudhary, chief executive officer of Himalayan Terminals, operator of the ICD, said most of the cargoes transported from Vishakhapatnam port have not been cleared. “The problem is greater with cargoes that have come from Vishakhapatnam port,” said Chaudhary, adding that the goods had been imported mainly by production plants operating in the Parsa-Bara Industrial Estate. 

Currently, Mersk and MCC Shipping Line Company provides a five-day grace period for containers that arrive at the dry port. Importers do not have to pay demurrage charge if they return the empty containers within that period. Earlier, they were being forced to pay hefty extra charges because of delays at Kolkata port. Chaudhary said importers were now reluctant to use the facilities being provided by shipping companies. 

“They are ready to pay extra charges,” he said. “This has made it difficult to manage cargo traffic at the dry port and created problems for other importers.”

Due to the negligence of importers, many railway rakes have been returning empty without carrying containers. “If this condition continues, the problem will become more severe in the days to come,” Chaudhary added. As per the ICD operator, more than a dozen rakes carrying loaded containers arrived at the dry port last week.

Due to the gridlock at the ICD, a large number of containers with goods imported from third countries are reportedly stuck at Indian ports. According to Himalayan Terminals, more than 900 containers had been held up at Kolkata and around 1,000 containers had been stuck at Vishakhapatnam port as of Tuesday. 

Pradeep Kedia, former president of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce, stressed the need to solve the problem in time to ensure free movement of cargo through the dry port. 

Published: 18-04-2018 08:07

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