Bhutan will soon have a mini port

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Sonam Penjor/Phuentsholing

The construction of much awaited mini dry port in Phuentsholing has started earlier this year. A Japanese private company Shitaka Marushin is undertaking the works.

Works that is being carried out in an area measuring 5.4 acres will be completed in next twenty months.

Once the project is complete, the house will have steel structured building warehouses for administration and service, a weigh bridge, truck scanner and internal road connectivity and cold storage. The mini dry port will have linkage with upcoming 4 lane bypass road.

Also, there will be a cargo badge accommodating up to 46 trucks in the port and for that, there will be external boundary wall, entry and exit gate for vehicles carrying goods for import and export. The project will dovetail the customs clearances for all imports and exports trade in the country entering and exiting Phuentsholing, to divert heavy traffic completely from central business district (CBD) or core city area. It also includes improving trade facilitations, encouraging one window services to the citizens discouraging tax pilferages: encourage efficient and sustainable tax collection system, and mainstreaming all tax collection procedures.

Government has given highest priority to building and improving infrastructure development such as roads, developing industrial estate and dry port. During the groundbreaking ceremony last Friday, the minister of economic affairs, Lyonpo Lekey Dorji said that we have excess of agriculture products in the villages. “We hope through farm roads, gewog centre road, district and east-west high way, farmers will bring their excess produce to the mini dry port in Phuentsholing.”

The need for dry ports was conceived for long time, Lyonpo said that after 15 years of planning, we now only able to kick start the work.

The need for development of dry port,a logistic infrastructure , has become even more urgent because of the increasing volume of trade each year. Lyonpo added that our total trade has drastically increased from about Nu.15m to Nu.102B in 2016. This is a growth of about 600 percent.

Until now, there has not been progress in logistic to support for this growing trade volume, but with the dry port it is expected to increase the trade even more.

World Bank logistic performance indicates that Bhutan ranks only 135 out of 160 countries in 2016.

The mini dry port will benefit both the exporters and the importers. Phuentsholing being the main area for export and import of goods to India and beyond, the mini dry port facility is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the traders and the country at large.

This is also expected to enhance competitiveness of Bhutanese products in the international markets. The Phuentsholing Thromde is supervising the project given their wide experiences in civil work.

The construction of dry port at 5.4 acres of land inside Phuentsholing Thromde is funded by Asian Development Bank under South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Connectivity (SASEC) Road Connectivity Project.

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