Electronic Cargo Tracking System
India has been working towards improving coordinated border management. Its open trade policies play a key role in sustaining the country’s development. However, the cross-border transit and management has been historically plagued by various issues such as delays due to congestion, logistics and infrastructure challenges, transit diversion, high administrative costs and poor information sharing between partner States. CBIC has been instrumental in adopting innovative technology solutions including the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) to obliterate these bottlenecks and minimise barriers to trade in its neighbouring region.
Introduction to ECTS technology through Circular No. 52/2017-Customs dated 22.12.2017 to facilitate movement of containerized cargo from Inland Container Depots (ICDs)/Container Freight Stations (CFS) to Bangladesh and Nepal provided significant dividends to both Trade and Customs controls. Additionally, Circular No. 42/2018-Customs dated 02.11.2018 prescribed a procedure for a pilot on Transshipment of Export Cargo from Bangladesh to third countries through Land Customs Stations (LCSs) to Kolkata Port/ Airport, in containers or closed bodied trucks by adopting ECTS.
Furthermore, for enhanced facilitation of transportation of Nepal bound transit containers from Kolkata/ Haldia and Vishakhapatnam port, CBIC has notified the Transshipment of Cargo to Nepal under Electronic Cargo Tracking System Regulations, 2019 (as amended) to utilize ECTS system for securing and monitoring the traffic-in-transit. Under the improved mechanism, the need for Nepalese traders to seek permission and file transit declaration has been done away with.
Recently, vide Circular No. 08/2022-Customs dated 17.05.2022, ECTS has also been utilized for enabling exports from Bangladesh to India destined for clearance at hinterland ICDs. Furthermore, to augment multi-modal connectivity and leverage the bilaterally agreed inland waterways routes under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh, Circular No. 17/2022-Customs dated 09.09.2022 and No. 19/2022-Customs dated 14.09.2022 prescribe ECTS of containerized cargo transported using inland waterway routes from India to Bangladesh as well as transit of Bangladesh’s exports to third countries.
On the domestic front too, CBIC has successfully launched an ECTS based pilot project backed by block chain technology for tracking movement of imported goods from Customs port to warehouse at ICD Tughlakabad. Phased roll out is underway.
Advantages of Integrating ECTS with Customs Procedures:
(a) Bring state-of-art supply chain security in transport through real-time GPS tracking;
(b) Reduced waiting time for vehicles at Customs ports;
(c) Elimination of traffic congestion at the Customs stations/land borders;
(d) Substantial reduction in the transit time;
(e) Significant reduction in costs (transaction and administrative).
(Updated as on November 2022 – Source- CBIC)