2018-07-08 15:21:42 BdST

Use of e-tracking must for export, import through Ctg Port


The customs authority has again made the use of electronic seal and lock mandatory for export-import containers in the Chittagong Port despite stiff resistance of the businesses to do it.

The e-tracking technology has to be used for their transportation from the port to the private inland container depots (ICDs), also known as off-docks, and vice versa.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) on June 26 framed the new rules titled 'Electronic Seal and Lock Service Rules 2018' with immediate effect.

The previous rule for mandatory use of electronic seal and lock expired in January.

However, the new rule has kept all the provisions of the previous one unchanged, including schedule of tariffs.

Earlier, different trade bodies and major business organisations opposed the measure.

These include Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Port Users Forum (PUF), and Chittagong Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association (CCCFAA) etc.

They urged NBR to scrap the rules and not to continue it.

Under the rules, the exporters and importers will have to pay Tk 600 for each container or covered van or truck, bound for Chittagong Port from the private ICDs, and to the ICDs from the port, for the first 48 hours.

However, they have to pay Tk 50 for each of the next hours for the service.

CCCI former director Mahfuzul Huq Shah said the e-tracking technology will escalate the cost of doing business.

He also said it is a costly and time-consuming technology that may cause delay in shipment of goods and also intensify congestion in the port.

The businesses are yet to be officially informed about the re-introduction of the rules.

There are no incidences of theft and duty evasion in container transportation system, he added.

CCCFAA asked its members on December 7, 2017, not to pay any fees for e-tracking technology, following request of PUF.

According to the rules, NBR will prepare a list of service providers based on applications. The enlisted services providers will work on build-own-operate (BOO) system.

Officials said the customs authority has re-introduced the rules as per the instruction of Finance Minister A M A Muhith.

Last year, the stiff opposition from the businesses forced the government to cancel at least three inauguration programmes for launching the electronic lock and seal system at Chittagong Port.

The businesses opine that the e-tracking system is not required for the exporters-importers and other stakeholders of the port.

The customs authority did not discuss with the stakeholders concerned, including exporters-importers, and clearing and forwarding agents etc, before re-introduction of the system, they added.

Some of the chamber leaders alleged that the system might be re-introduced to facilitate a particular company that has invested on e-tracking service in Chittagong Port.

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