In a first, a cargo truck from Bangladesh with Delhi-bound consignment reached here under the trial run of a trans-national pact to allow seamless movement of traffic among India and its three neighbouring countries.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) in June last signed the agreement in Thimphu to facilitate cross-border movement of both passenger and cargo vehicles in the sub-region.
“History was written at the Inland Customs Depot in Patparganj in East Delhi today when for the first time a cargo truck from Bangladesh drove in with a Delhi-bound consignment, having come seamlessly through customs free borders,” Road Transport and Highways Ministry said in a statement.
The truck of Nazrul Transport Agency and Expo Freight Pvt Ltd from Bangladesh was despatched from Dhaka on August 27 as part of a trial run under the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA).
“The trial run was organised to help develop the protocols for implementing the Agreement. The cargo vehicle started its journey from Dhaka and reached at Petrapole on August 28, 2016, and Kolkata on August, 29 2016.
In India it travelled through the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi travelling more than 1850 km to reach the Custom Depot at Patparganj in New Delhi today.
The consignment did not have to undergo any customs clearance at the border.
“The truck was issued an E-permit for the trial run through an online web based system. This will help establish a customer friendly process acceptable to and recognised by all BBIN countries,” the statement said.
Instead, the statement said, when it reached the first Indian customs station at border point Petrapole, an electronic seal with GPS tracking device was fixed on the truck so that the goods could be inspected for custom clearance at Delhi rather than at the border.
An electronic online vehicle tracking system was also installed in the truck that facilitated real time monitoring of its progress.
The four countries, at present, are negotiating protocols to implement the agreement for passenger and cargo vehicles separately. The statement said that the truck was allowed to pass through without delay or causing congestion and the Integrated Multi-modal Transit System Ltd (DIMTS) provided support for testing the GPS based online/live vehicle tracking by all stakeholders and agencies concerned in India and Bangladesh.
The trial run has demonstrated that time and cost can be saved through facilitation of seamless transport through the sub-region, the ministry said.
Cargo trucks earlier often had to be off loaded at the border and also go through customs clearance.
This led to delay and often also caused damage to the goods. The steps being taken to facilitate seamless movement of cargo vehicles will give a major boost to trade and business in the sub-region.
A similar trial run of cargo vehicle from India was conducted in November, 2015 from Kolkata to Agartala via Dhaka, it said.
This trial run was a successful endeavour which established that with such facilitation, the distance of more than 1550 kms from Kolkata to Agartala via India’s Chicken’s Neck will be reduced to 650 kms if truck travels through Bangladesh resulting in reduction in overall transaction costs.