Bids called for feasibility study for Korala dry portThe Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board has started groundwork for the construction of an inland container depot (ICD) at Korala, Mustang on the Nepal-China border. On Sunday, the board issued a notice inviting interested firms to submit bids to conduct a feasibility study for the dry port.
The Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board has started groundwork for the construction of an inland container depot (ICD) at Korala, Mustang on the Nepal-China border. On Sunday, the board issued a notice inviting interested firms to submit bids to conduct a feasibility study for the dry port.
The successful consulting firm will have to assess the existing trade volume, identify an appropriate site for the ICD and conduct topographic and cadastral surveys besides developing a conceptual plan for the ICD and ancillary structures. Hopeful consulting firms are required to have 10 years’ experience. The feasibility study has to be completed within three months, the board said.
Korala Pass in the Himalaya connects Upper Mustang in Nepal with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The Chinese government currently allows local traders to cross Korala Pass to buy and sell locally produced goods. In November 2015, China agreed in principle to facilitate trade over Korala Pass, and since then Nepal has been working to develop the trans-Himalayan route.
“We have already conducted a pre-feasibility study, so we have called for ‘expressions of interest’ to move the project forward,” said Executive Director Laxman Bahadur Basnet of the board. Currently, the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border crossing is the only overland route open for trade between Nepal and China. The Tatopani transit point has remained closed since the devastating earthquake in 2015.
A subsequent blockade by India prompted the Nepal government to act to open additional trade routes across the northern border. In November 2015, Nepal and China signed a 20-point agreement to operationalise seven border points for international trade.
After signing the agreement with China, Nepal has set up customs offices at Chhoser village in Mustang, Larke in Gorkha, Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha, Lamabagar in Dolakha, Yari in Humla, Mugu village in Mugu district and Olangchungola in Taplejung.
China has extended its road network to the Korala border point with the view of broadening long-term business ties with Nepal. On the Nepal side of the border, the government has started upgrading the 110-km road from Jomsom to Korala, however, progress has been slow. As a result, the trading point is being used only by locals for cross-border trade.
According to Basnet, the investment modality for the ICD at Korala is yet to be finalised. “We are holding talks with Chinese authorities for support for the construction of infrastructure at the transit point,” he added.