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Land Ports - Border Trade

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September 09, 2021

What is the issue?

Safe and secure border is sine qua non for enhanced trade and integration. Here is how land ports have contributed to this.

What is a Land port?

  • The regional economy of South Asian countries sharing land borders is heavily fragmented by trade and transportation barriers.
  • Addressing this, in 2012, India set up the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) through the LPAI Act, 2010, under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Land port is an area on the international borders including portions of national, State highways and other roads, and railways.
  • It is notified as land Customs station or immigration check-post under the Customs Act, 1962 or the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.

What are the contributions so far?

  • The LPAI has developed till date a total of 9 ICPs (Integrated Check Posts), which are located across India’s international land border.
  • These are:
    1. Attari - Handing India’s trade with Pakistan
    2. Agartala, Petrapole, Srimantapur and Sutarkandi - All handling India’s trade with Bangladesh
    3. Raxaul and Jogbani - Both handling India’s trade with Nepal
    4. Moreh - Handling India’s trade with Myanmar
  • Several new ICPs are coming up and their total number is likely to touch 24 by 2030.
  • India’s border management ecosystem with land ports is very much in sync with the obligations of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

What is the role of a LPAI?

  • Manages the ICP properties.
  • Develops, sanitizes and manages the facilities for cross-border movement of passengers and goods at designated points.
  • Puts in place systems, which address security imperatives at the ICPs.
  • Wide range of security equipment - Handheld metal detectors, door frame metal detectors, barriers and rotary mirrors which discourage manual frisking and verification by security forces.

How have land ports helped?

  • Trade and infrastructure have a self-reinforcing relationship.
    1. With ICPs in place, India’s trade with her immediate neighbours (BBMNP countries) has gone up from 487% in 2012-13 to 63.59% in 2020-21.
    2. In value terms - Rs. 327 billion in 2012-13 to Rs. 954.89 billion.
    3.  The output shift - Rs. 6.55 crore per vehicle in 2012-13 to Rs. 257 crore per vehicle in 2020-21
  • Creating a seamless passenger experience by facilitating cross-border passenger movement of over 1.26 crore people.
  • Channelising informal trade to formal trade - Potential for replication in several African land ports experiencing large informal trading activities.

What are the unfinished tasks?

  • Enhancing and upgrading cross-border trade infrastructure at land borders:
    1. Access and Surveillance Control Systems
    2. Full Body Truck Scanners for non-intrusive scanning and Radiation Detection Equipment at ICPs which shall considerably reduce dwell time at ports.
  • Once some of India’s connectivity corridors such as the Trilateral Highway become operational, ICPs (particularly in eastern neighbourhood) require further capacity expansion.

 

Source: Business Line

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