Government of Nepal has established the 'Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB)' on 19th January 1998 accordance with the provisions of the Development Board Act 1956. NITDB is chaired by the Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and comprised of members from public and private sector entities. The main objective of NITDB is to oversee the economical and efficient management of Inland Clearance Depots (ICDs) for facilitation of Nepal's foreign trade. ICD is a common user inland facility, other than a port or an airport, approved by a competent body, equipped with fixed installations and offering services for handling and temporary storage of any kind of goods (including container) carried under Customs transit by any applicable mode of inland surface transport, placed under Customs control and with Customs and other agencies competent to clear goods for home use, warehousing, re-export, temporary storage for onward transit and outright export.
Major functions of the NITDB are as follows:
• To develop and operate terminals for the import and export of goods by making necessary procedural arrangements simple, easy and competitive;
• To enter into agreement with selected companies for the operation of the terminal services;
• To Evaluate and monitor terminal management contracts;
• To prescribe criteria in determining tariff charges for the terminal services as well as to lay down the maximum rate levels for these services;
• To authorize and scrutinize sub-leases between the principal lessee and sub-lessees as and when necessary;
• To conclude necessary arrangement agreements with the Indian Railways; and
• To coordinate among terminal management companies as and when necessary.
Government has established NITDB under the Development Board Act 1956 to regulate and manage the cross-border infrastructures such as ICDs Dry Ports, Container Freight Stations (CFSs), Integrated Check Posts (ICPs), Collection and Distribution Centers, in a bid to facilitate international trade. NITDB has been working with the main objectives of reducing transport cost, achieve competitiveness in imports and exports through reduced overhead costs promote competitive transport services and open opportunities to private sector operations through their involvement in management and operation of ICDs since last two decades. Though the concept of development of ICDs in Nepal evolved in early 2000s, the country is in starting phase of developing such infrastructures. NITDB has to develop the next generation trade infrastructures and upgrade the existing physical infrastructures eyeing the traffic flow of next 20 to 30 years. It takes on an average 40 days for Nepal to complete third country trade, whereas it takes only two weeks for neighboring India. Though Nepal cannot compete with the costal countries due to landlocked status, however, Studies have shown that Nepal can substantially minimize the time and cost in foreign trade through development of robust infrastructures and simplification in procedures in transit and customs. In this regard, the NITDB has been granted with the huge role of trade facilitation for the economic development of the country.
NITDB has set a vision to bring transformation in economy through lowering the cost of doing business in the country. High cost of trade has caused high production cost, which can be minimized through ensuring predictable supply of raw materials and intermediate goods, where the prospect of industrialization prevails. Currently, supply side bottleneck has been hindering the export growth and the export of the country is slowed to crawl since last several years. Against this backdrop, ICDs can play critical role through providing valuable space for range of value adding logistic services, enabling some of them to turn into well developed logistics parks or become nucleus for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and triggers the economic development of specific areas ICDs promote the concept of multimodal transport as container seal can remain unbroken from a place close to the consignor to the place close to the consignee as it provides managed warehousing well equipped facilities, ensure security of goods. Apart from changing the concept of transport, both in physical & organizational terms. ICDs will have beneficial effect on the trading and industrial activities of Nepal. Intermodal transport industry continues to evolve globally and it becomes increasingly integrated with supply chain management.
NITDB has initiated construction several ICDs at the major trade corridors of the country and upgradation of the existing ICDs including only rail-linked ICD Birgunj NITDB will also oversee the operation of ICPs as the custodian of cross border trade infrastructures. Linkwise, ICP Birgunj has been will come into operation in a near future and construction contract of ICP in Biratnagar has already been awarded. Similarly, land acquisition for the development of two other ICPs in Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj has been completed. thus, the country has been moving ahead to develop the cross-border trade infrastructures in a bid to facilitate trade.