Survey of the Kathmandu-Birgunj-Kolkata Corridor: October 2013

Results from the survey of the border crossing time of trucks as they cross Nepal-India border in Birgunj and arrive at Nagdhunga


This report provides key results from the survey of the border crossing time of the trucks as they cross Nepal-India border in Birgunj and arrive at Nagdhunga (Kathmandu). The survey took place from September 27-October 3, 2013 in Birgunj-Raxaul Border and in Nagdhunga (Kathmandu). October is a festival season in Nepal. The festival season brings two conflicting impacts on transportation time: things are generally smooth and peaceful (which should lead to less travel time) but roads are crowded (because of higher traffic volume). The aggregate effect is ambiguous. Our results provide quantitative indication of how such effects actually are.

We found that the presence of border (both at Indian side and Nepal side) delays the transportation time by 19 hours, 57 minutes (the corresponding number for June was 17 hours 44 minutes). This includes the total of times spent in Indian custom and Nepalese custom yard. If one assumes that the clearing time for vehicles arriving from Duncan side at Indian custom offices are independent of clearing time for vehicles arriving from Raxaul, and further assumes that both of these times are independent of clearing time in custom yard in Nepal, then the standard deviation for the border crossing time is 910.8 minutes (15 hours, 10 minutes). The corresponding reported time for June was 665.5 minutes (11 hours, 5 minutes). Besides, we found that vehicles on average spend only 3 hours, 53 minutes (the corresponding number in June was 7 hours 6 minutes) inside Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) at Sirsiya, with the standard deviation being (87.25 minutes). The variance of data in June was significantly larger, and the standard deviation then was 557.4 minutes.

During the survey period, the trucks on average took 33 hours, 14 minutes to come from the dry port to Nagdhunga, with the standard deviation of this time being 21 hours 7 minutes. The corresponding number for average time from the dry port in Birgunj to Nagdhunga in Kathmandu in June was 36 hours 45 minutes (with standard deviation being 32 hours 11 minutes). For trucks arriving from custom yard to Nagdhunga, the average time during the current survey period was 49 hours 3 minutes (with the standard deviation being 38 hours). The corresponding number for June survey was 52 hours 43 minutes, with the standard deviation being 37 hours 10 minutes.

We had pointed out a striking observation in our previous survey about the relationship of the total time spent by trucks inside custom yard and the time spent doing actual custom related works. If we sum the average time for initial verification, inspection, bank payment and transloading, it turns out to be about 187.64 minutes (3 hours, 7 minutes). In June, similarly, this number was 211 minutes. The actual number can be even less than the reported numbers, as transloading for many trucks can be and are done concurrently with other operations. However, average time spent inside the yard is 1163 minutes, and in June it was 954.8 minutes. This indicates that more than 16 hours 15 minutes (in June, it was 12 hours 23 minutes) inside the custom was spent doing non-custom related works.

Compared to previous two studies, we found the border operations in Indian sides were more efficient, as vehicles were clearing fast. Despite the growth in the number of trucks, Nepalese border crossing time also was relatively stable. Most of the results are in between those reported in March and June survey. The numbers from March and June survey had fluctuated a lot, in particular, the travel time between Birgunj and Kathmandu. Although time spent for different operations inside the yard either decreased or stayed the same, the total time spent inside the custom yard increased a little bit, probably reflecting the impact of the congestion inside the yard.

Like in the past, the calculations in this report may have been downward biased by the fact that we did not sufficiently account for the delays caused by the goods stored in warehouse(s) in the custom yard, because of our short survey period. However, since less than 5% of the trucks were using the major warehouse (i.e the one owned by National Trading Limited) during our stay there, this bias cannot be too large.

This report has been produced for Evidence on Demand with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment, Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by DAI (which incorporates HTSPE Limited) and IMC Worldwide Limited.


Anon. Survey of the Kathmandu-Birgunj-Kolkata Corridor: October 2013. Evidence on Demand, UK (2013) v + 33 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_cr.october2013]

Survey of the Kathmandu-Birgunj-Kolkata Corridor: October 2013

Published 1 January 2013