Indian Railways hikes demurrage on wagonsIndian Railways has hiked demurrage on wagons by up to sixfold, making life hard for Nepali importers, traders said.
Indian Railways has hiked demurrage on wagons by up to sixfold, making life hard for Nepali importers, traders said.
Railway wagons have to be unloaded within nine hours after arrival, and shipments have to be removed from the warehouse within 12 hours. Demurrage will be charged at the rate of IRs150 per container per hour if the free time is exceeded.
Om Prakash Sharma, president of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the higher demurrage would hit consumers the hardest.
“We have appealed to the concerned authorities, but they are not prepared to listen to us,” Sharma said.
Large quantities of imported clinker, gypsum, slag and coal have been piling up at Raxaul railway station across Nepal’s southern border. Indian authorities have said that a nominal penalty will be charged for delays of up to two hours.
But railway authorities have been levying demurrage amounting to double the normal rate for delays lasting up to four hours.
If the free time is exceeded by six hours, demurrage is four times the normal rate; and if the delay is longer than that, demurrage is six times the normal rate.
On an average, an importer has to pay an extra charge of IRs900 per wagon per hour.
According to an importer, it takes around a week to remove shipments from the warehouse at Raxaul. “Incessant rain during the last few days has made it difficult to transport goods over the bad road connecting the warehouse,” said the importer.
Indian Railways had hiked demurrage during the April 25 earthquake and Indian blockade too when importers had a hard time removing their shipments from
Recently, shipments have been piling up at the railway warehouse as Tarai-based political parties have called a five-day shutdown along the Nepal-India border.
They announced the shutdown to protest against the government’s move to hold the second phase of local elections without amending the constitution first as they have been demanding.
As per traders, Indian authorities have raised detention charges in a bid to rush importers.
According to them, 46,000 tonnes of raw materials are piled up at the Raxaul warehouse and other locations on the way to Nepal.
“Due to the pressure at Raxaul, authorities in Hajipur, India have restricted movement of Nepal-bound railway racks,” an importer said.
A rack can hold 3,800 tonnes of raw materials. Previously, Nepali importers faced hardships due to the small number of racks provided to them by Indian Railways.