VISAKHAPATNAM: Vizag deep-sea Port will commence handling Nepal’s USD 2-3 million third Country import cargo from March onwards.
Deputy Chairman PL Haranadh said that Container shipping liner Maersk is expected to deliver the first batch of containers at Vizag Port in the first week of March.
Maersk is the first liner to offer the aggregation services as part of market making for Vizag. Haranad is hopeful that commercial success of the initiative will bring in other liners.
Kolkata Port has been enjoying monopoly over Nepalese cargo. However, it is a right step for India to offer Nepalese importers wider and better options and, counter Beijing’s effort to promote rail-road trade options through the Nepal-China land border.
Container Corporation of India (Concor) has already offered lucrative terms for transferring the cargo by rail from Vizag to Nepal. Concor runs a joint venture handling facility inside Nepalese territory at Raxaul (Bihar)-Birgunj (Nepal) border.
To attract Nepalese traders to try the new option, Concor has decided to run rakes (a cargo train) with a minimum 60% capacity, thereby agreeing to underwrite the losses, if any.
Ganesh Lath, a Nepalese importer and Former President of the Chamber of Commerce at Birgunj, the commercial capital of Nepal, felt that Concor services would encourage Nepalese traders to shift cargo from Kolkata to Vizag.
Lath said that “The Nepalese Government has already agreed to use Vizag as the second port. Nepal’s Kolkata consulate extended services to Vizag.
A meeting with shipping liners and Concor was held in Kathmandu during the end of last year to smoothen out things.”