Despite being geographically connected, most of the trade between land-locked Nepal and China takes place through the sea, statistics of Nepal's central bank revealed here recently.
Around 87 percent of Nepal's trade with China took place through the sea as of first 10 months of the current fiscal year that began in mid-July 2017, according to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).
Nepal and China traded goods worth 1 billion U.S. dollars through the sea out of the total trade of 1.18 billion U.S. dollars as of first 10 months of the current fiscal. It means, 86.5 percent of Nepal trade with China took place through the sea route.
Nepali traders said since the deadly earthquake of April 2015 in Nepal resulted in closure of busy Tatopani-Zhangmu trade route, trading through the land route has slumped.
Although there is another trade route -- Rasuwagadhi-Kerung, to conduct inland trade, this is yet to see the scale of the trade that Tatopani-Zhangmu was witnessing before the quake.
"Traders are opting for the sea route because the sea fare is cheaper although it takes more times to bring goods to Nepal compared to land route," said Bachu Poudel, president of Nepal Tran-Himalayan Border Commerce Association, a body of traders involving in Nepal-China trade.
Bishnu Bahadur Khatri, another importer from China and former president of the association told Xinhua on Tuesday that poor infrastructure on the Nepali side to reach the Rasuwagadhi border point is also discouraging traders to use the land route.
However, with the two countries reaching agreement on enhancing connectivity through ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the overarching framework of trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network during the Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's visit to China in the third week of June, Nepali traders said that the land-based trade could jump in the future between the two countries.