The Customs authorities on Tuesday launched an electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) for goods exported to Nepal from the Visakhapatnam port.

The GPS-based tracking tool will cut down on the transshipment time to two weeks from 2-3 months now, and result in savings to the Nepalese trade. Cargo pilferage by tampering can also be prevented, as the containers are electronically sealed.

“It is a a great development for movement of goods transshipped from Visakhapatnam to Birgunj rail route,” Commissioner of Customs DK Srinivas said. Depending on the success of the pilot, it will be replicated at other places.

The first rail movement to the Birgunj Inland Container Depot was flagged off from the Visakha Container Terminal a BOT operator of Visakhapatnam Port Trust by Srinivas, in the presence of VPT Deputy Chairman PL Haranadh, Divisional Railway Manager MS Mathur, CONCOR General Manager Yelvender Yadav, representatives of Maersk Line India and VCTPL Additional CEO Anil Narayanan.

The Centre had declared Visakhapatnam as the second gateway port for Nepal-bound cargo after Kolkata-Haldia a few years ago.

The introduction of the pilot project at Visakhapatnam Customs House would drastically reduce the cost incurred by Nepalese importers and the time for transhipment from Visakhapatnam to Birgunj would be reduced to two weeks from the present two to three months.

Srinivas said Visakhapatnam Port had so far handled 10,355 containers for the land-locked country. Unlike the present practice of obtaining eight documents by Nepal-based importers, the new procedure, again a first in the country, allows filing of single transhipment declaration by the shipper/carrier.