Import, export activities at Sirsiya Dry Port jumpWith the Birgunj Customs Point remaining completely shut for over four months, trade activity has risen sharply at nearby Sirsiya Dry Port.
With the Birgunj Customs Point remaining completely shut for over four months, trade activity has risen sharply at nearby Sirsiya Dry Port.
The Birgunj Customs Point—which had remained closed ever since India imposed a trade blockade on September 22—reopened last Friday.
Exports to both India and other countries through the dry port have increased significantly. Dabur Nepal alone exported seven railway
racks of juice and tooth paste over the period, according
to Devi Prasad Bhandari, chief of customs at the dry port. A railway rack has 90 containers.
Surya Nepal has also been using this route for importing raw materials. It imported 54 tonnes of cigarette papers between October 18, 2015, and January 29, according to the customs office.
Exports of noodles and handicrafts, and imports of fly ace, chemical fertilisers, MS billet, corn, rice, wheat and paddy have also soared.
As a result, the government’s revenue collection from this customs point has surged. The collection as of last Monday reached Rs92.38 billion against the target of Rs1.43 billion for the period between mid-January and Mid-February, according to Bhandari.
The collection for the mid-December 2015 to mid-January exceeded the target by 19 percent. With trade activities remaining obstructed in the initial days of the blockade, the customs office missted its revenue target for the first half of the fiscal year. It collected just Rs6 billion against the target of Rs8.22 billion for the period.
Stakeholders have said the port, which came into operation 12 years ago, should be utilised at its full capacity so as to reduce the cost of doing business. Federation of Customs Agents’ Association’s Shaym Babu Patel said it was the right time the dry port was fully utilised. “There has been little effort to fully utilise the railway route for export/import,” he added.
President of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pradeep Kedia said trade activities through the dry port could increase significantly if delays and overcrowding at the Kolkata port were addressed.