Andhra Pradesh

Nepal-bound container cargo to have RFID tags

D.K. Srinivas

D.K. Srinivas  

Aim is to prevent tampering and diversion midway

Nepal-bound cargo will have radio frequency identification (RFID) tags as a pilot project to prevent their tampering and diversion midway.

With Visakhapatnam being declared the second gateway port after Kolkata for the Himalayan State for export import cargo, Asian Development Bank-funded RFID project is being executed to make it operational from Visakhapatnam shortly after its launch in Kolkata next month, Commissioner of Customs D.K. Srinivas told The Hindu on Monday.

RFID, which is useful for all, would also be implemented for all other cargoes in a phased manner. RFID tags help identify the movement of truck-bound sealed containers and in full rakes. This prevents diversion or theft from the specified route. For the cargo bound for Bhutan also RFID is being introduced.

As part of bilateral treaties, free access to international trade is being extended to both the land-locked countries by India. For Nepal, there are 16 entry points from India. “The dwell time for cargo from the ships takes two days on an average in Visakhapatnam as against seven days in Kolkata,” Mr. Srinivas said. Transportation time from Visakhapatnam is around four to five days whereas it is two to three days. As on today, the Railways has operated three consignments of box trains from the city to Nepal. The composition of cargo is also changing with interest shown by many to transport soya bean, gypsum, health drinks and other containers.

Dr. Srinivas said during talks with high-level delegation from Nepal, the Himalayan country had been advised to open a consul office in the city to expedite the process for clearances. Now the traders have to depend on the office located in Kolkata. Now for Nepal-bound cargo, an international shipping company is offering dedicated carriers as well as to take care of containers for delivery through rail and road mode up to Birgunj Inland Container Depot. An estimated 20,000 TEU is ferried from Kolkata to Nepal.

Visakha Container Terminal Private Ltd, a BOT operator of Visakhapatnam Port Trust, has a world-class facility in the city with plans to expand with an estimated investment of ₹900 crore from 0.6 million TEU to 1.5 million TEU per annum. The terminal handled 3.66 lakh TEU last year with a growth rate of 24% and it is also expecting to maintain the same growth momentum in future, according to VCTPL officials. Container Corporation of India (Concor) has so far operated three rakes from the city to Nepal. By undertaking an aggressive marketing campaign to convince the trading community on benefits in saving time by ferry their cargo from Visakhapatnam to Nepal compared to riverine port in Kolkata, VCTPL expects that they could ensure the operation of at least one rake a week from the city.

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Printable version | May 20, 2020 10:44:36 AM |

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