India, Nepal Agree to Use Cutting-Edge Technology to Ease Transit Trade

India’s Customs Commissioner Sandeep Kumar and Nepal’s Commerce Ministry Joint Secretary Rabi Shanker Sainju have signed a memorandum of intent to pilot an electronic tracking system for a trial period of at least 90 days starting later this year.

The electronic tracking system uses satellite positioning systems, cellular communications, radio frequency identification, electronic seals, and monitoring software to ensure the security of cargo. In doing so, traders will reduce the cost and time spent for clearing cargo at border crossings.

India and Nepal will pilot the tracking system for Nepalese transit cargo by road and rail along Kolkata-Birgunj via Raxaul, Kolkata-the inland container depot (ICD) in Sirsiya via Raxaul, Kolkata-Biratnagar via Jogbani, and Kolkata-Bhairahawa via Sonauli corridors.

Substantial savings in time and cost for traders

“Government of India endeavors to work towards seamless movement of goods across border among BBIN countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal). The pilot use of the electronic tracking system will be a path-breaking development in easing cross-border transit of goods between India and Nepal,” says Kumar.

“Use of this cutting-edge technology should speed up trade formalities and improve security of goods in transit, and open the way for off-border customs processes for exports, leading to substantial savings in time and cost for traders,” he added.

The electronic cargo tracking system is an important initiative under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program, which involves Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), as SASEC secretariat, is supporting the piloting of the electronic tracking system.

“Nepalese traders could benefit greatly from faster transit movement and simplified procedures from the electronic tracking system,” says Sainju. “Through the application of the system, we will not only be able to track the movement of our cargo, but even more, we will easily detect any unwanted incidences such as infiltration, pilferage, or deflection that may occur to our transit cargo in route.”

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