Finalization Workshop for the Feasibility Study of the Pilot Implementation of the Secure Cross-Border Transport Model between India and Bhutan
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) co-organized the Finalization Meeting of the Feasibility Study for the Pilot Implementation of the Secure Cross-Border Transport Model (SCBTM) between India and Bhutan, employing the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) along the Kolkata-Jaigaon-Phuentsholing Route, on 29 October 2015 in Cebu, Philippines.
The Meeting reviewed and discussed the Feasibility Study Report on the use of ECTS, which combines the use of modern technology and streamlined procedures to secure and speed up clearance of cargo through designated land routes and border crossings, thus reducing trade costs.
Bhutan and India agreed to adopt the Feasibility Study jointly prepared by ADB and UNESCAP, subject to incorporation of the final comments of each country delegation. The Meeting also noted that the importance of ECTS will be further highlighted as it is be a requirement in the implementation of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), signed in June 2015.
The Meeting also agreed on further steps for the application of ECTS, including
- Piloting of the system along the Kolkata-Phuentsholing route for 6 months, on a voluntary basis;
- Constituting a Task Force and specifying its membership to oversee piloting, routes to be covered, and scope of services of the service provider; and
- Exploring the participation of Bangladesh and Nepal in the pilot for their respective MVA routes, to be discussed at a meeting in Kolkata, India in December 2015, with representatives from both countries.
The delegation from Bhutan was headed by Mr. Karma Loday, Collector, Revenue Accounts and Audit Division, Department of Revenue and Customs, Bhutan. The Indian delegation was headed by Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Commissioner (Customs), CBEC, India. Mr. Sandeep Raj Jain, Economic Affairs Officer, Transport Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Ccommission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and Mr. Ronald Antonio Butiong, Officer-in-Charge, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, South Asia Department, ADB, co-chaired/ co-moderated the meeting. Participants included Customs, transport and IT officials of the Governments of Bhutan and India, private sector stakeholders from both countries, and staff and consultants of ADB and UNESCAP.