Nepali and Indian customs officials, transporters and traders on Tuesday discussed the installation of an electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) on containers originating in Kolkata, India as the launch date for the pilot project approaches.
The ECTS, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is known as an effective anti-smuggling and anti-transit fraud system which increases revenue to the treasury.
The technology enables real-time tracking of cargo from the point of loading to the point of discharge. The system is also expected to bring efficient clearance processes at the border posts and decongest entry and exit points.
The ECTS uses satellite positioning systems, cellular communications, radio frequency identification and other web-based software to ensure the security of cargo.
It will be operated by a managed service provider, which will offer an integrated end-to-end system for transit facilitation through a web application covering the filing and processing of transit declarations as well as tracking.
“The use of the ECTS will ensure safe and secure transit, simplify border formalities, reduce transit time and transaction costs and improve shipment visibility,” said Manish Chandra, commissioner of Kolkata Customs.
“It will provide a tracking facility to customs officials which should help ensure cargo security, making it possible for them to extend higher levels of facilitation.”
In June 2017, India and Nepal signed a memorandum of intent to pilot the tracking system to ease transit of cargo by road and rail from Kolkata to four major customs points in Nepal: Kolkata-Birgunj via Raxaul, Kolkata-Sirsiya inland container depot via Raxaul, Kolkata-Biratnagar via Jogbani, and Kolkata-Bhairahawa via Sunauli.
Transport operators using the ECTS will enjoy simpler procedures and streamlined documentation.
“As a landlocked country, Nepal welcomes the introduction of the ECTS,” said Rabi Shanker Sainju, joint secretary of the Ministry of Commerce. “Our traders look forward to the increased reliability, efficiency and reduction in transit costs that it will bring.”
The ECTS is an important initiative under the South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (Sasec) programme, which groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka with the ADB as the secretariat.
Sasec is a projects-based partnership which aims to improve cross-border transport connectivity, promote energy trade and facilitate faster and less-costly trade among the participating countries.
Since Sasec’s establishment in 2001, participating countries have undertaken 49 projects in transport, energy, trade facilitation and information and communications technology worth almost $11 billion.
“The ECTS is a major tool to ease the movement of cargo within and across international borders,” said Ronald Butiong, director for regional cooperation of the ADB’s South Asia Department. “We expect it to be used along major corridors in the Sasec countries which will help boost intra-sub-regional trade.”Published: 2018-02-08 08:43:26