December 7, 2015
The following was originally published Dec. 5, 2015 in The Himalayan Times:
Nepal has formally handed over the task of preparing detailed design of the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Timure of Rasuwagadhi to Chinese state-owned company, Architectural Reconnaissance and Design Institute of the Tibet Autonomous Region (ARDITAR).
An agreement to this extent was signed between Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB), a government agency under the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, which oversees all the ICDs in the country, and ARDITAR Chairman Fu Zhenghao here today.
As per the agreement, the Chinese company must submit detailed design of the project within three months. The detailed design will give NITDB an idea on the total cost of the project.
“Once the detailed design is submitted, we will immediately hand over the contract to build the port,” Basnet told The Himalayan Times.
NITDB hopes to complete construction of the ICD by late 2018 or early 2019. If Nepal is able to complete the construction within this period, it will be able to take benefit from China’s plan to expand its railway service to Kyirong.
China has already expanded railway service in Tibet to Shigatse, which is around 450 km from Kyirong. China plans to link Shigatse with Kyirong via rail service within 2020.
“Expansion of the rail service will give us an opportunity to rapidly expand trade with China because Kyirong lies at a distance of around 26 km from Rasuwagadhi,” said Basnet. The ICD, on the other hand, lies at a distance of around 2.5 km from Rasuwagadhi.
If the ICD is built in Timure, Nepal will get second well-equipped dry port to conduct commercial trade with northern neighbour via road. Currently, ICD in Larcha, near Tatopani, is the only dry port on Nepal-China border.
The proposed dry port at Timure, which will spread over around five hectares of land, will house a five-storey administrative complex, a parking lot which can fit in 350 trucks, a warehouse built on 750 sq m of land, two appraisal sheds spread on a total of 2,080 sq m of land, a check post and other necessary physical infrastructure.
The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies and the Chinese government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on development of the ICD at Timure on October 16, 2014. The Ministry of Finance of Nepal and Chinese government had then exchanged letters for construction of the ICD on April 10, 2015.
Timure Struck by Earthquake
But after that Nepal was struck by devastating earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 which also damaged the Rasuwagadhi (Nepal)-Kyirong (China) trade route and delayed the process of preparing designs of the project.
Then on November 15, 2015, China sent a technical team of ARDITAR to Nepal to conduct inspection of the site where the ICD is being built. The team has already submitted the preliminary design of the project.
China government will bear all the cost involved in the construction of the ICD, except the cost of purchasing the land. The Nepal government has provided 5.5 hectares of land for the construction of the ICD at Timure.