Maersk Line is targeting emerging trade opportunities in Nepal and is to open a commercial office in Kathmandu to help facilitate the growth of container traffic to and from this market, in the first half of 2018.
Announcing the initiative, Steve Felder, managing director, Maersk Line, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives, said that the company was confident about the trajectory of the Nepal market. "We would like to be a long-term trade partner in the region," he said, adding that the company's focus has always been to enable trade through an increased service offering, and it intends to carry out this commitment for Nepal by providing customers with a seamless experience through both Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.
Since June 2017 Maersk has been moving containers from Visakhapatnam to Nepal through an exclusive block train service, called the Kathmandu Express. It offers a guaranteed fixed transit time from the Indian port to an ICD at Birgunj, just across the Nepal border.
Maersk is the first shipping line to offer this intermodal product and demand has quickly built up, the company’s reports. As a result, it now anticipates running up to 6 block trains a month on this route. The shipping line also offers a connection into Nepal, using merchant haulage, from the port of Kolkata to Birgunj.