Construction of China-funded Larcha dry port begins
China and Nepal on Thursday jointly laid the foundation stone for the much-anticipated Inland Container Depot or dry port in Nepal's Larcha, near Tatopani customs on the northern border with China, the main trading gateway between the two neighbors.
Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan and Secretary of Nepal' s Ministry of Commerce and Supplies Lalmani Joshi jointly laid the cornerstone for the China-funded project amid mass media coverage.
The construction project is expected to ease the bottleneck for surging trade between China and Nepal. According to the project that was sealed on May, 2012, the government of China will fund the construction of border inspection building and cargo warehouse.
"This project will become another symbol of China-Nepal traditional friendship and economic cooperation," ambassador Yang said at the ceremony. "Both the governments have attached great importance to the project and done a lot of work to facilitate it over the past few years and now finally made it a reality."
Moreover, the project also includes the construction of a parking lot with a capacity of accommodating at least 158 big containers and 33 cars within the dry port premises.
During the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding in May, the Chinese side had also agreed to upgrade a 6.5 km road connecting the dry port to the border.
"Once the road is upgraded, it will speed up and smooth the flow of vehicles and people in the border areas and enhance the trade flow and volume between our two countries," Joshi told Xinhua.
The 13.8 million U.S. dollars project, which is expected to be completed in 26 months, also promises the construction of a 112- meter-long bridge over the Bhotekoshi River, which intersects the Arniko Highway connecting the border to Nepali capital Kathmandu.
Since the deal was signed on May, the Nepali government has met obstacles in launching the project owing to problems regarding land acquisition and other issues.
"Since all the issues have been settled with the locals, I wish for a successful completion of this high-priority project," said Sarad Bikram Rana, Executive Director at Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board.
According to Mukti Narayan Paudel, Director General of the Customs Department of Nepal, once the dry port is constructed, the current customs office in Tatopani will be transferred to Larcha, and that the Chinese cargo trucks could go directly to the dry port.
"Once the construction of the dry port is completed, the customs office will be shifted to Larcha," he said.