1st cargo train arrives near BiratnagarThe first cargo train that was flagged off from Kolkata Port in India has reached Bathana, Bihar, near the Nepal-India border point at Biratnagar. It took five days for the cargo train to reach Bathana railway station, which is 6-km south of Jogbani.
The first cargo train that was flagged off from Kolkata Port in India has reached Bathana, Bihar, near the Nepal-India border point at Biratnagar. It took five days for the cargo train to reach Bathana railway station, which is 6-km south of Jogbani.
This is part of a trial to create a second cargo train route linking Nepal with India after Birgunj. 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 regular service would create positive impact for trade as their consignment would reach safely and timely.
It would also reduce the freight cost, they said. As of now, traders have been using cargo trucks to import and export goods from Biratnagar to India and the third countries.
On Sunday, the cargo train arrived with 58 containers filled with goods. Traders are happy that Biratnagar has been linked with railway network. The trail was initiated by the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) under the Indian Railways.
As per the plan, the railway line will connect Budhnagar in Morang after an integrated customs post is 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.”
“This will also reduce unnecessary delays and costs faced by Nepali traders while importing goods from third countries through the 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.