Kathmandu, Nov 27 (IANS) Nepal has introduced a token system for its cargo containers entering the bordering Kerung (Geelong inland port) in China through Rasuwagadhi region, the only operating international border point between the two countries.
“We have implemented the token system starting from Saturday. Now, only 50 containers can enter China at once for importing goods from the country,” Xinhua news agency quoted Krishna Prasad Adhikari, chief district officer of bordering Rasuwa district, as saying.
“After these containers return to Nepal, another 50 will be given tokens to enter China.”
According to Adhikari, vehicle movement on the Nepali side of the border has been difficult due to parking of hundreds of trucks on the road, which remains fragile after the April 25 earthquake last year.
Due to traffic jams on the road, several hydropower projects being developed near the border are finding it hard to transport necessary construction materials, said Nepali officials.
As the traditionally main trade route — Tatopani-Khasa (Zhangmu) route — has remained closed since last year’s quake, the traders have started shifting to Rasuwagadhi border for their export and import requirements.
The new route was formally opened for international trade only in December 2014.
According to Adhikari, the new system will ease the movement of vehicles across the border.
But, the Nepali officials also fear whether entry and exit of 50 containers would be enough for the growing trade through this route.
“Currently, around 200 containers are returning at once from China bringing goods,” Kedar Paneru, Chief Customs Officer at Rasuwa district, said on Sunday.
According to Paneru, the shipment of containers is taking place twice a week currently.
“If it takes place twice a week with 50 containers at a time instead of most of the days in a week, it will create a big problem in bilateral trade and revenue collection of the Nepali government,” said Paneru.
Although Nepali traders have been increasingly using the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung route after the closure of Tatopani-Khasa border point, the new route has not been as busy as the old one.
Currently, most of the imported goods from China come through the sea route via Kolkata port, according to traders.