Move to help port get 25,000-30,000 TEUs of additional cargo every year
Nepal has evinced interest in using Visakhapatnam port as its second transshipment point for import and export of container cargo, said Ajay Kallam, chairman, Vizag port.
“The Centre has given in-principle approval to the proposal of the Nepal government for using our port for handling the latter's container cargo,” he told Business Standard. With this, the port expects 25,000-30,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of additional cargo every year.
The government of Nepal has been using Haldia port for the past several years as it does not have one. Though Haldia port is more than 700 km from Nepal borders, it is the only nearest port. It handles about 40,000 TEUs of Nepal's container cargo a year.
Kallam said Nepal had sought the Indian government's permission to use Vizag port as it was facing problems like non-cooperative attitude of labourers, frequent silting of the port and increase in handling costs. As on today, over 5,000 TEUs of its cargo had piled up at the port due to lack of facilities.
Vizag port is about 1,440 km from the Nepal border. According to Kallam, the port has a handling capacity of 350,000 TEUs a year and the waiting time for container vessels here is less than two hours. Apart from this, it is directly linked to the inland container depot at Birgunj, which is in Nepal, by rail. Container Corporation of India too is willing to run container trains from Vizag to Birgunj, he said.