Kolkata Customs on Tuesday announced that it is likely to allocate a separate zone within the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (Kolkata port) area to handle cargo headed for Nepal. Once operational, this will be the first dedicated freight/cargo handling area for Nepal inside any port area in India.
It is believed that it will significantly boost cargo movement and reduce handling time for consignments headed to Nepal.
As per sources, the Nepal Transit and Warehousing Company Ltd (NTWCL) has sought land to set up a warehouse. While that land was given to them on lease, they needed customs clearance to start operations. NTWCL had applied for the clearance before lockdown.
Nepal’s consul general Eshor Raj Poudel met chief commissioner of Kolkata Customs Zone Pramod Kumar Agarwal on Monday and discussed upon the issues along with other concerns in context to cargo movement through Bengal.
All the consignments that goes to Nepal via waterways are first brought to Kolkata port/ Vishakhapatnam port. With the commencement of the dedicated zone, the turnaround time will be reduced plus a boost in cargo brought to Kolkata port will be witnessed.
As per reports the Customs is going through the proposal and is likely to give a nod soon.
“NTWCL has leased property and wants to create a warehouse. It is still in the process,” Poudel said.
Further he adds, “Today’s meeting was more of a courtesy visit. We have received excellent cooperation from the Indian authorities including the customs, port authority, Concor and the Indian Railways. The movement of cargo from India to Nepal has been very smooth during the pandemic.”
According to estimates with the Nepal government, nearly 100 containers from abroad reached the port in Kolkata every day. They were cleared and then sent to the neighbouring country. At time of the pandemic, the consulate general of Nepal’s office in Kolkata received applications from importers in Nepal for at least 40 containers per day. There are also importers who take the containers directly from the port and carry the consignment.
“During the pandemic import by Nepal has gone down. Let us hope for better days and I am hopeful that it will increase further,” said Poudel
Adding further he said, “We are thankful to the Indian authorities and we have received high-level commitment so far That is the perfect indicator for the mutual cooperation between two countries.”