Birgunj Inland Container Depot gets much needed upgradeNepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) has started upgrading the inland container depot (ICD) in Birgunj to properly handle dusty cargo.
Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) has started upgrading the inland container depot (ICD) in Birgunj to properly handle dusty cargo.
Currently, there are no arrangements to store dusty cargo such as cement clinker and fly ash which are dropped off by rail in India and then transported into Nepal using open wagons.
According to the board, it has started construction of two warehouses that will facilitate unloading and stocking of the dusty cargo. According to Himalayan Terminals, a private company that has been awarded the contract to handle the dry port in Birgunj, the ICD now has two warehouses spread across an area of 7,000 square metres and 10,000 square metres, respectively.
These warehouses have been designed to only handle containerised cargo and break bulk cargo.
Hare Krishna Mishra, an official of NITDB said they have completed 90 percent of the construction work of the storage for dusty cargo. “In addition, the necessary budget has also been set aside for constructing a separate parking yard for the purpose,” Mishra said.
After experiencing the obstruction of Nepal bound dusty cargo from the Indian side last December, the government agency had moved forward to upgrade the facilities at Birgunj ICD.
During the period, the local people in Raxaul, India halted movement of the dusty cargo, cement clinker in particular, citing the pollution and resultant health hazards when unloading the products on Indian land.
Most of Nepal’s imports are channelled through Raxaul, which also serves as the final transit point for vehicles ferrying goods to Nepal. As of now, Nepal unloads the raw material transported from the mines in India by freight train at Raxaul railway station. It is then transported to Nepal in trucks.
Since the December incident, Nepali traders have been facing difficulties in importing the raw materials that are transported in open wagons. The provision of unloading and stocking the raw materials is expected to end the ongoing hassles.
Mishra said the board has also sought to develop the railway track and link it to the warehouses currently under construction. This will negate the risk of dusty particulates dispersing during unloading and loading.
“For this purpose, the authority has also planned to modify the railway track from its existing form,” said Mishra adding that the board was also mulling to construct cold storage in the ICD area by the end of current fiscal year. The Birgunj ICD handles cargo movement carried out through railway service via Indian seaports in Kolkata, Haldiya and Vishakhapatnam. Apart from dusty cargo management, the ICD has also been facing a problem with excess cargo movement traffic. Limited infrastructure and traders failing to clear the containers on time are among the major underlying problems at the dry port.