About 150 cargo containers withexport articles have been stranded atvarious parts of the country for a week,thanks to a general strike called byMadheshi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) inthe eastern Terai region, The HimalayanTimes reported.
Foreign trade has been hit the hardestdue to the strike, which has beengoing on for several days in easternTerai, blocking the main customs pointsincluding Birgunj-Raxaul and Rani-Jogbani. These two customs points arethose through which over 45 percentof Nepal’s export-import activities arecarried out.
According to Namgyal Lama, presidentof Nepal Freight Forwarders’ Association(NEFFA), those stranded containerscontain handicrafts, readymadegarments and carpets to be exported todifferent third country markets.
"If these shipments are not reachedon time to their destinations, manymanufacturers and exporters will facea huge loss," he said.
The ongoing strike that began onMarch 6 has brought economic activitiesto a complete halt resulting inthe closure of hundreds of industries,major customs points bordering toIndia, transportation and other relatedactivities.
Although the actual loss is yet to becalculated, Rabindra Man Singh, managingdirector at Everest de Cargo andimmediate past president of NEFFA,said that it could cost a couple of billionrupees.
He added that many industriessuch as vegetable ghee, garments andcarpets that rely on imported raw materialscould shut down anytime sincetheir stock of raw materials is finishingrapidly.
If blockade of major customs pointsand cargo trucks are not allowed totransfer shipment for one more week,the Nepali economy could breakdownanytime, he said.
He criticised that none of the politicalparties or government has takenany initiative to address the issue eventhough the economic sector is beingmade scapegoat of the unrest.