Biratnagar trials Nepal’s second cargo train routeThe first cargo train has been flagged off from Kolkata Port to Bathana, Bihar in India, near the Jogbani-Biratnagar bordering point. This is part of a trial to create a second cargo train route linking Nepal.
The first cargo train has been flagged off from Kolkata Port to Bathana, Bihar in India, near the Jogbani-Biratnagar bordering point. This is part of a trial to create a second cargo train route linking Nepal.
Currently, a 6km railway line from Raxaul, India to Sirsiya Inland Container Depot or dry port near Birgunj is connected for freight transport. Traders said that the service would create positive impact for trade.
The cargo train was flagged off on Wednesday and is expected to arrive to Bathana on Friday.
As per the plan, the railway line will connect Budhnagar in Morang where an integrated customs post is being constructed. “It will provide a big relief for Nepali traders as the service will reduce transportation costs,” said Abinash Bohara, central member of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). The Biratnagar-Jogbani point is primarily used to import industrial raw materials for Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor through cargo trucks. The finished products are then exported.
Initially, railway freight transport service will be offered up to Bathana. From there, cargo trucks will be used to transport goods to Nepal. “The railway service will reduce transportation costs by at least Rs1 per kg,” said Bohara. “If the service becomes regular, it will reduce transportation costs by more than Rs2 per kg.”
Traders said once the integrated customs post is completed, shipping companies would be able to transport goods to Nepal directly through the railway.
“This will also reduce unnecessary delays and costs faced by Nepali traders while importing goods from third countries through Kolkata port,” said Bohara.
Former central member of FNCCI Mahesh Jaju said that they had been demanding for the facility for a long time. “Now, Biratnagar will also get the railway service to transport goods like Birgunj has been receiving,” he said. The Kolkata-Bathana road distance is around 550 km. Nearly 70,000 goods containers arrive in Nepal annually from the third countries.