Means of Transportation and current situation of transport in Nepal [Updated 2024]


Means of Transportation in Nepal

Surface Transport

1. Road Transportation: It is one of the most important modes of transport in Nepal. By mid-March 2023 all district headquarters have been linked to road network. This achievement aligns with the national goal to connect all 77 district headquarters by the end of the current plan period.

Major Highways of Nepal
East-West Highway (Mechi to Mahakali): 1,027.67 km
Mechi Highway (Illam to Taplejung): 224 km
Sagarmatha Highway (Mirchaiya to Salleri): 200 km
Karnali Highway (Surkhet to Jumla): 200 km
Prithvi Highway (Naubise to Pokhara): 174 km
Tribhuvan Highway (Kathmandu to Birgunj): 192 km
Siddhartha Highway (Pokhara to Bhairahawa): 184 km
Araniko Highway (Kathmandu to Kodari): 114 km
B.P Koirala Highway (Banepa-Sindhuli-Bardibas): 158 km

Source: Economic Survey 2023

As of mid-2023, the number of vehicles per km in the country has reached 121. The total length of the road network is 34,890 km.

Road Network in Nepal (Type and Length in km)
Types of Road At the end of FY 2021/22 Up to mid-March 2023
Blacktopped 15,500 15,800
Graveled 9,600 9,900
Earthen (Fair Weather) 9,790 9,940
Total 34,890 35,640
Source: Economic Survey 2019/20

2. Railway Transportation: Nepal's railway service has limited potential due to financial and technical constraints. The first railway, established in 1936, operated between Amlekhgunj and Raxaul, spanning 48 km, but is no longer in service. The Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway, established in 1936, currently runs a 29 km line, with plans to extend 17 km to Bardibas and upgrade to broad gauge.

Various projects under construction include:
  • Railway Construction Project
  • Railway Project under Indian Cooperation
  • Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railroad
  • Kathmandu Metro Transport Project

3. Ropeway Transportation: Ropeways in Nepal serve as a crucial mode of transportation in the country's mountainous terrain. Historically, ropeways have been used for both cargo and passenger transport. The first cargo ropeway in Nepal was the Halchowk-Lainchour ropeway, built to transport stones for palace construction. The Kathmandu-Hetauda Ropeway, built in 1964 with USAID assistance, was one of the most famous cargo ropeways but is now out of operation.

Types of Ropeways
  • Tar Pul or Ghirling: These rudimentary ropeways are used to cross rivers, often installed by local communities.
  • Gravity Ropeways: Operated by potential energy, these are used in places like Mustang for transporting apples.
  • Cargo Ropeways: These were used for transporting goods, with notable examples including the Kathmandu-Hetauda and Hetauda Cement Factory ropeways.
  • Passenger Ropeways: Electrically operated, these include the Manakamana Cable Car, established in 1998, and the Chandragiri Cable Car, opened in 2016.
Major Ropeways in Nepal
Name Location Type Length (m) Capacity Status
Manakamana Cable Car Kurintar to Manakamana Passenger 2772 600 persons/hour Functional
Chandragiri Cable Car Thankot to Chandragiri Passenger 2400 1000 persons/hour Functional
Kalinchowk Cable Car Kuri to Kalinchok Passenger 1000 Passenger service Functional
Sangakot Cable Car Phewatal to Sarankot Passenger 2500 Under construction
Kathmandu-Hetauda Ropeway Kathmandu to Hetauda Cargo 42300 22 tons/day Non-functional
Hetauda Cement Ropeway Quarry to factory Cargo 11000 150 tons/hour Non-functional
Source: Wikipedia, 2024

Air Transport: 

Nepal is a mountainous and hilly country. Therefore, air transport service provides important service to people. Nepal’s aviation history date back to 1949 when the first-ever single engine aircraft landed in ting cow pastures in Sinamangal, Kathmandu which is today’s Tribhuvan International Airport.

Nepal, characterized by its challenging topography, relies heavily on its network of airports to connect various regions and promote tourism. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) oversees all airports, ensuring their operational efficiency and safety. Here's an overview of the current situation of airports in Nepal, categorized into international, domestic, and those under construction.

Overview of Airports in Nepal
Category Airport Name Status
International Airports Tribhuvan International Airport Operational
Gautam Buddha International Airport Partially Operational
Pokhara International Airport Under Construction
Nijgadh International Airport Planning
Domestic Airports Lukla Airport Operational
Pokhara Airport Operational
Simikot Airport Operational
Jomsom Airport Operational
Bharatpur Airport Operational
Airports Under Construction Pokhara International Airport Near Completion
Gautam Buddha International Airport Ongoing Enhancements
Nijgadh International Airport Planning

Source: CAAN Annual Report, 2023

Nepal's commitment to enhancing its airport infrastructure is evident through ongoing projects and improvements. The successful completion of these projects will significantly boost connectivity, tourism, and economic growth in the country.

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