The government is on the verge of introducing a dry port in the state to facilitate smooth import and export.
The facility would open doors for the Bihar-based industrialists and entrepreneurs who dream of lining up their products at supermarkets abroad.
The first dry port, also known as inland container depot, will come up in Bihta, around 30km southwest of Patna. Pristine Magadh Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Delhi-based Pristine Logistics and Infraprojects Private Limited, will set up the port on 23.78 acres of Bihar Sugar Corporation Limited land, senior officials of the sugarcane industries department said on Tuesday.
The land has been leased out to the company for 60 years that can be extended to another 30 years.
A dry port is an inland terminal directly connected by rail or road to a sea port, providing services for handling, temporary storage, inspection and customs clearance for international freight. Company officials said the dry port, with an initial cost of Rs 33 crore, would be ready by October. The total cost of the project is Rs 100 crore.
“At present, there are 15 closed sugar mills in the state. We are working in a phase-wise manner to revive them. All the mills fall under the Bihar Sugar Corporation Limited. Of the 15 mills, four will be re-started and three in Bihta, Samastipur and Sakri (Madhubani) will be leased out to private companies to set up other industries. Sugar plants would not be feasible at the three sites because of unavoidable circumstances. We had started the process to bring in a dry port in mid-2012. After five rounds of bidding, the Delhi-based company was selected,” said Sudhir Kumar, the principal secretary of the department.
Pristine Logistics and Infraprojects Private Limited director Rajnish Kumar said a dry port is important for a land-locked state like Bihar. “Bihta was chosen for the dry port because it is located at the centre of the state. Since Bihar is land-locked, the logistics cost for exports is very high (16 per cent) compared to eight per cent when it comes to national or international logistic figures. The dry port will bring down the cost and also help the state’s industry sector with more exports,” he said.
Proper refrigerated storage containers and warehouses for the products would be in place at Bihta. The goods would be stored and then moved to the different ports after custom clearance.
“There would be custom officials at the Bihta dry port. The clearance for a port from different departments at the Centre and the state has been taken,” Rajnish added.
In an attempt to make its presence in the direct export market, the state government is creating a database of businessmen, whose products are supplied across the country and are also exported abroad.
Industrialists believe that the government should formulate a proper industry plan keeping exports in mind.
“It is good that a dry port is coming up. But the state needs to make a proper plan about the kind of products it needs to export and also the destination countries,” said Satyajit Kumar, an entrepreneur.