Nepal is a landlocked nation but it has reached agreements with neighbours to have an access to sea for the third country trade route. Still it has not been able to fully utilise these seaports in the absence of robust connectivity infrastructure and lucrative export items to be traded in a large amount to foreign nations. Even if the country imports the vast amount of goods from abroad, the sea and dry ports play critical role in improving supply chain and drastically cutting the transportation costs. Of late, Nepal has placed emphasis on the construction of dry ports for enhancing international trade and economic growth. Dry ports facilitate to handle, store, monitor and clear customs of the containers and bulk cargoes arriving at or leaving the inland ports by a means of intermodal transport such as roads, railways, inland waterways and airports.
The countries which heavily rely on the coastal economy have constructed dry ports to promote hinterland industry and trade. For the country like Nepal, dry ports help develop special economic zones, boost transport infrastructure and supply chain management, ease capacity constraints at seaports and add value to market players, among others. The country is running four road-based inland container depots in Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Kakarbhitta and Tatopani, and rail-based dry port in Birgunj, which have greatly eased the supply chain and improve the road and railway networks. Likewise, the construction of dry ports in Rasuwagadhi and Chobhar of Kathmandu Valley are underway. Pre-feasibility study of Korola of Mustang and feasibility study in Chadani Dodhara Municipality of Kanchanpur district have been completed to build dry ports there.
According to a news report of this daily, Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) is set to develop Inland Container Depot (ICD) and Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Chandani Dodhara Municipality within the next four fiscal years. Once the ICD and ICP come into operation, they are expected to open the door of economic development in the far-west region. The concerned authorities have said that the master plan of these two projects are ready while the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report has been sent to the Ministry of Forests and Environment for pre-approval. The DPR and EIA will be completed next year. The tender for the construction of the facility will be announced soon. Spread over an area of 280 bighas in Gaurishankar and Mayapuri community forests, it will be developed in two phases. Rs. 6.98 billion will be spent in the first phase while the second phase will cost Rs. 12.37 billion, which includes the development of the cross border railway track and storage of dust cargo.
The facility’s internal rate of return is 3.20 per cent. The ICD/ICP will have facilities like customs, ware-house, quarantine, workshop, parking lot, laboratory, bank, administration, canteen, security force, dormitory, and cargo storage. It will handle cargo from and to the Mundra Port in Gujarat in India, which is the shortest route to the Middle East and Europe. The construction of the project is expected to move smoothly as the local people have not obstructed it over the land acquisition, as the NITDB is serious about addressing their concerns and grievances. This is the second trade infrastructure after the dry port of Chobhar being constructed with state fund and expertise. This has boosted confidence and set an example that the country is capable to build big infrastructure on its own.