Container tracking system launched as pilot project

- SURESH NEUPANE, NEW DELHI
The system enables real-time tracking of cargo from the point of loading to the point of discharge and is expected to save money for traders as they will not have to pay demurrage charge that may arise due to delays

Apr 20, 2018-Two container trucks fitted with an electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) left Kolkata port for Birgunj, Nepal on Wednesday, heralding the launch of the device that provides real time location information of the vehicle. The Nepal-bound trucks are carrying goods imported from third countries. 

According to the Office of the Consul General in Kolkata, the locks fitted on the containers are equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) device. The gadget has been installed on Nepal-bound trucks as a three-month pilot project, said Consul General in India Ek Narayan Aryal. 

As per the Commerce Ministry, the RFID device is used worldwide and helps the authorities and private transporters to monitor the movement of their cargo in transit. “Based on the effectiveness of the device, we will make it mandatory on all containers carrying third-country imports,” Aryal said.

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: Birgunj via Raxaul, Sirsiya inland container depot via Raxaul, Biratnagar via Jogbani, and Bhairahawa via Sunauli. 

The government had planned to enforce the system last year, but it was put on hold at the request of Indian authorities. 

Under the system, containers are tagged with an electronic chip when they leave the port which will allow authorities to keep track of them continuously. Traders are charged Rs4,800 per container for the service, according to the Office of the Consul General. 

The system enables real-time tracking of cargo from the point of loading to the point of discharge. It is expected to save money for traders as they will not have to pay demurrage charge that may arise due to transportation delays. 

Similarly, it helps to prevent pilferage of the imported goods in transit. 

Currently, traders face hassles in the name of security checks at multiple check points in India, and the installation of the RFID device is expected to free them of such problems and reduce trading costs. 

Aryal said the device would also simplify the customs clearing process. “The use of the device is expected to reduce the cost of trading by a significant amount.”  

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. 

Published: 20-04-2018 08:16

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