Stranded cargo bound for Nepal gets moving

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Publish Time: 2022-09-20 Author: DAQIONG and PALDEN NYIMA From: China Daily

Workers disinfect a truck at the Zhangmu-Tatopani Friendship Bridge at Zhangmu Port in the Tibet autonomous region. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Gyirong and Zhangmu (Khasa) ports in the Tibet autonomous region have resumed customs clearances and adopted measures to help move stranded export cargo caught up in the most recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the region, according to Lhasa Customs.

Gyirong Port in the region’s Gyirong county sent more than 213 metric tons of cargo, including daily necessities and subsidiary agricultural products valued at more than 12.9 million yuan ($1.8 million) to Nepal on Thursday, when exports resumed.

Exports from China to Nepal via the ports of Gyirong and Zhangmu were suspended after cases of COVID-19 were reported in Tibet in early August.

According to Lhasa Customs, Zhangmu Port inspected and sent a batch of stranded cargo to Nepal of more than 73 tons, valued at more than 970,000 yuan on Sept 10, including general merchandise, clothing and subsidiary agricultural products.

Bordering Nepal, Gyirong and Zhangmu ports are located in Shigatse city of Tibet, and are the largest land ports in the autonomous region.

Due to the most recent flare-up of COVID-19 infections, cargo purchased by Nepal had been stranded, most of which were commodities for the upcoming Dashain harvest festival, which will fall in October.

Taking into account the situation, the local government and customs in Tibet decided to resume port services and adopt measures to streamline the release of the stranded cargo as the local epidemic situation improves.

Xin Gong, head of Nyanang Customs, said it implemented closed-loop management for people involved in cross-border services a month ago, and conducts regular nucleic acid tests for them to ensure their health and prevent the spread of infections.

"With logistical support, we have provided necessary materials at the supervision point on the Zhangmu-Tatopani Friendship Bridge at Zhangmu Port, and we suspended staff rotation and strengthened closed-loop management during the entire period of clearance," said Xin.

"In addition, we have held a drill for the entire process of customs clearance to detect and prevent any potential risks, and to strictly comply with epidemic prevention and control measures," he added.

Sonam Tenba, head of Tibet Azhuocang Trading Co, said the resumption of work at the ports makes it possible to transport all the stranded cargo to Nepal before the arrival of Dashain, which is not only good for Nepalese people, but also helps to mitigate the economic losses of exporters.

According to Lhasa Customs, it will actively respond to Nepal’s concerns about the clearance of materials, and it will steadily carry out the supervision and customs clearance of stranded goods on the premise of ensuring safe practices for epidemic prevention and control.

Since the operation of one-way freight services to Nepal at Zhangmu and Gyirong ports in 2020, the value of one-way exported goods to Nepal has reached more than 5.95 billion yuan, it said.

Tibet serves as an important land route from China to South Asia. Despite the impact of COVID-19, Nepal has remained the largest trading partner of the region.

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