Container Corporation of India (Concor) may lose its right of being the only player to move container trains between India and Nepal.
Nepal is optimistic that traders moving goods via container trains on the Indo-Nepal route will get non-Concor choices as well.
The train-running protocol is decided by the India-Nepal Rail Service Agreement (RSA) that was reviewed a few days ago. Nepal’s Himalayan Times quoted officials there of stating that the two sides have agreed to allow private container train operators as well. Indian officials have clamped up on the issue.
In 2004, when the RSA was finalised, Concor happened to be the only container train operator. In 2006-07, Indian Railways opened up the market, allowing other operators to run container trains.
This had several companies — including those backed by Adani Group, Port of Singapore Authority and Dubai Port World, among others — entering the fray.
Since then, the agreement has not been changed to allow new operators. Nepal has raised concerns on the quality of service provided by Concor. India’s Association of Container Train Operators (ACTO) has also sought the opening up of the route for all operators.
Nepal believes that introducing competition for Concor will lower freight charges, making its imports cheaper.