Governments of Nepal and India Prepare to Launch the ECTS Pilot Program
8 February 2018
The Governments of Nepal and India are preparing to launch the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) as soon as possible, according to Mr. Manoj Acharya, Ministry of Commerce (MoC) Undersecretary of the Government of Nepal.
The ECTS received the green light from the Government of Nepal's Council of Ministers in January 2018. The planned pilot will run for three months, covering cargo entering Nepal by rail in Birgunj and by road in Biratnagar and Bhairawa. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting the piloting of the project through the SASEC Program.
The ECTS is an important initiative of the SASEC Program. It 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 solution through a web application covering the filing and processing of the transit declarations as well as tracking, as an end-to-end solution for transit facilitation.
ECTS-tagged container freight are expected to benefit from simpler procedures and streamlined documentation at Customs clearance points.
MoC Joint Secretary Rabi Shankar Sainju underscored that the system will help bring down the cost of trade for importers by speeding up clearance time. Alongside the reduction in costs, Nepal traders are also looking forward to increased transit reliability and efficiency. Depending on the effectiveness of the system, the Ministry is planning to install a control unit at Kolkata Port in the future.
In February 2018, stakeholders' workshops were held in Kolkata and Kathmandu to discuss the use of the ECTS with private sector stakeholders, including transport operators and traders. ADB, through the SASEC program, helped organize the event in cooperation with MoC Nepal and the Central Board of Excise and Customs of the Government of India.