By Deepak Gautam Birgunj, Sept. 16: The private sector cargo train has arrived in Nepal from India for the first time in 17 years after the operation of Nepal-India railway service. The first private cargo train has arrived at Birgunj-based dry port Wednesday morning.
With the arrival of private cargo train in Nepal, the Indian private railway company Hind Terminal's train carrying containers from Haldiya Port in India to Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj has broken the monopoly of Container Corporation of India (CONCOR). The Railway Service agreement between Nepal and India in 2004 gave a monopoly to CONCOR for the transportation of containers and other cargo from the Indian ports of Kolkata, Haldiya and Visakhapatnam. After the revision of the railway service agreement between the two countries in July 2021, the way was opened for the operation of private sector railways.
The monopoly of the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) has been broken with the commencement of transport services by the Hind Terminal. Ashish Gajurel, executive director of the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Committee, said that the train of Indian private railway company Hind Terminal left Haldiya Port carrying 90 containers of food items on Monday and arrived at the Birgunj dry port at 10 am on Wednesday.
The businessmen had been demanding amendment to the railway service agreement citing that the monopoly given to the CONCOR was a sign of the CONCOR's arbitrariness in train fares. In India, 15 different private companies are providing transportation services by rail. Apart from CONCOR, three other railways companies of India have shown interest in shipping to Nepal.
Apart from the Hind Terminals Pvt. Ltd., Pristine Logistics Infra Project, the main partner of the Indian Pristine Valley, which operates the dry port of Birgunj and JM Baxi Group, which operates ports and rail services in India, are preparing to transport cargo and containers to Birgunj by rail, said Gajurel.
Ganesh Lath, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Province 2, claimed that the transportation service to Nepali businessmen would be easier and cheaper due to competition among Indian companies as Indian private railway service providers have started transporting the cargo to Nepal. President of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry Subodh Gupta said that the arrival of private companies has created an environment for Nepali importers to choose the railway transport service based on fares and service quality.
The Sirsiya Dry Port was constructed in Birgunj in 2000 at a cost of Rs. 820 million with a loan assistance of the World Bank. After that, a railway link was constructed from Raxaul to the port with the grant assistance of Rs. 200 million from the government of India. In line with the railway service agreement in 2004, containers carrying goods started arriving directly at the port.