The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has introduced a sophisticated electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) to curb dumping of transit goods into the local market.
The technology, which is set to start in June, this year, will be monitoring goods at entry and exit points in the country.
TRA official in-charge of the transit unit, Alexander Buchafwe, said this here during an exhibition organised by Investment Climate Facility (IFC), which is also part of the African Development Bank’s series of meetings.
The system started in March this year but TRA gave the business community three months to get prepared for the operation of the cost-effective technology.
He said ECTS was a system that tracked movements of vehicles and goods from one point to another and before the new system the process used by TRA to monitor goods, which were subject to customs control, was being done manually.
“The process involves getting reports at every transit checkpoint,” Buchafwe said, adding that there would be no more checkpoints from Dar es Salaam Port to destined border posts.
According to the official, the new ICT system will speed up movements of goods on the designed routes by eliminating idle time during clearance of goods at the border point and in turn it will complement the government efforts to eliminate non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
Citing some of the benefits of ECTS, the official said through the technology it would be easy to identify illegal diversion of goods, protect government revenue and real-time consignment tracking as opposed to manual tracking.
“This technology also increases transparency, uninterrupted movements of goods, quick security bond cancellation and increases truck turnaround time,” he said.
The ECTS will also reduce the cost of compliance to TRA trade facilitation and increase safety of transit goods.
"ECTS will be able to speed up clearance of trucks at border points and hence reduce congestion at the border's customs yards, which is one of the massive problems that have been hindering trade in the East African region," he explained.
Dumping remains a critical problem that subjects the country to losses amounting to billions of shillings.
Tanzania is estimated to have been losing 25bn/- a month due to fuel adulteration, dumping and compensation of lost transit goods specifically those going to landlocked countries.
The ECTS system has been built to collect data and provide real time tracking information of trucks and transit goods.
The ECTS consists of two devices namely M-Track and E-Seal whereby the M-Track is a wireless device, which tracks and retrieves stolen goods, while the E-Seal is designed to secure any shipment container and will continuously communicate its status using radio frequency identification (RFI) wireless technology to the tracking unit, which is placed in the truck's driver cabin. Non-tariff barriers are restrictions that result from prohibitions, conditions or specific market requirements that make importation or exportation of products difficult and/or costly but due to ECTS most of these drawbacks will be reduced to a considerable extent.
All goods that are subjected to customs control under section 6 of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004 need to be tracked by ECTS.