MUMBAI, INDIA (7 June 2017) — Indian and Nepali senior customs and trade officials met in Mumbai yesterday to discuss ways to ease traffic-in-transit along the route from Kolkata to four major customs points of Nepal, including Raxaul, through an electronic tracking system.

India’s Customs Commissioner Sandeep Kumar and Nepal’s Commerce Ministry Joint Secretary Rabi Shanker Sainju signed a memorandum of intent to pilot the 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.

“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 Mr. 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 Mr. 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.”

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.

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