Pilferage control: Cargo tracking system to be installed ‘soon’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 6, 2018-

The Ministry of Commerce has said that it will be implementing the electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) soon, two weeks after getting the green signal from the Cabinet. 

The ECTS will be installed on Nepal-bound containers at Kolkata Port, India, one of the main gateways for Nepal’s trade with third countries. The tracking system is expected to reduce the cost of trading by preventing pilferage and transportation delays. 

According to the ministry, both governments have given the go-ahead to implement the ECTS. Last June, Nepal and India signed a memorandum of intent to implement the system. 

“As the governments of both countries have agreed on the modality, we are now preparing to enforce the system as soon as possible,” said Manoj Acharya, under-secretary at the ministry. According to Acharya, the ministry will be launching a three-month pilot project in the initial phase. 

As per the modality approved by the Cabinet, the ECTS will be implemented on cargoes entering Nepal by rail in Birgunj and by road in Biratnagar and Bhairahawa. A vendor company will be enforcing the system on Nepal-bound shipments with the support of the Asian Development Bank. 

Acharya said the vendor company would be authorised to tag containers with an electronic chip when they leave Kolkata Port, which will be removed at the Nepal-India border. 

The cargo tracking system uses satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and General Packet Radio Service that provides continuous internet connection. 

Ministry spokesperson Rabi Shankar Sainju said the tracking system uses a GPS-based sim card used in communication services. “Based on the effectiveness of the system, we will install our own control unit at Kolkata Port in the future,” Sainju said. 

The system will enable authorities to keep track of the containers continuously. The estimated cost of using the ECTS will be Rs3,500-4,000 per container, as per the ministry.

The system enables real-time tracking of cargo from the point of loading to the point of discharge. It is used by countries worldwide and helps the authorities and private transporters to monitor movement of goods along the route.  

The ECTS is also expected to minimise the turnaround time of the shipping line containers, which could help Nepali importers avoid demurrage and detention charges that they have been paying due to delays in returning the containers to the shipping lines.

Shipping liners normally provide a 21-day turnaround period, which means that the containers that leave Kolkata Port must be returned to the shipping liners within 21 days after the goods are unloaded in Nepal. 

However, traders often miss the deadline due to delays in the clearance process at Kolkata Port and congestion at Birgunj Dry Port. “The ECTS will also help chop additional costs for importers by reducing the time needed for clearance,” Sainju said. 

Published: 06-02-2018 08:36

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