The logistics infrastructure in Nepal is fragile and unreliable, particularly during the monsoon. Movement through the network should be carefully planned.
Poor roads away from main arterial highways, bad driving, frequent traffic jams, road blockages caused by landslides, washouts or bridge collapses, broken down vehicles thoughtlessly parked, and frequent fuel shortages mean that planners have to allow a wide margin of error in their logistics planning. A typical planning figure is 3-4 hours per 100 km. There are more options for road re-supply into Kathmandu than is usually recognized.
The terrain and altitudes of some deliveries mean specialist advice is always necessary, particularly during the monsoon from June to September.
- The field study conducted for this LCA (February to April 2016) found that certain airports are still marked on local maps and are registered with Civil Aviation but have not been used for 15 – 25 years. Most are overgrown or used as sports fields but they are quite suitable for helicopters and for tented accommodation and warehousing.
- Most airports outside Kathmandu have no material handling equipment, refueling facilities, adequate firefighting, and storage.
There is a good supply of warehouses (also called “go-downs”) but all need thorough inspection before use.
Supply Chain from Kolkata
The supply chain from Kolkata generally functions well but can be disrupted or halted by earthquakes, floods or “bandhs” (road blocks by demonstrators). India Railways waits until there is a full train of 90 container wagons before dispatching a train, which takes three days to get to the Dry Port at Birgunj. The pace doesn’t change much during the early days of an emergency. It may increase if there is a surge in containers arriving in response to an emergency. It is noted that the commercial cargo train comes directly from Kolkata Port to the Birgunj Dry Port.
The following sections contain information on the logistics infrastructure of Nepal.