Monday 2 October 2023

Smile, you’re on camera!

A new camera system monitors the flow of people and commerce at the borders

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30 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – A new system of 18 web cameras now monitor border posts in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, and allows for integrated regional management.

The cameras installed in posts such as the one in Peñas Blancas, northern Costa Rica, will improve the control of customs collection and security in those steps.

The system, installed by the SIECA – Secretaría de Integración Económica Centroamericana, allows obtaining real-time information on the flow by type of transport, speeds and times and number of crossings, it was reported in a statement on Friday, 28 of May.

According to the SIECA report, the camera system will also allow better control of the tax collection, as well as contribute to the improvement of border security in the Isthmus.

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The information will be available to the countries, to entrepreneurs who carry out regional trade, and to other interested parties, detailed SIECA.

19% of Costa Rica’s 2020 exports went to Central American countries. That year, US$2.32 billion in merchandise was sent to the countries of the region, while, in 2019, it amounted to US$2.45 billion, based on the statistics by Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer).

Exporters commonly complain about delays at border crossings, a situation that increases the cost of transportation and jeopardizes the quality of the products.

The 18 camera systems were installed in the border communities of Paso Canoas in Costa Rica and Panama; Peñas Blancas in Costa Rica and Nicaragua; Guasaule in Nicaragua and Honduras; El Amatillo in Honduras; La Hachadura in El Salvador and Pedro de Alvarado in Guatemala.

The plan was implemented through international cooperation with various entities, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the statement reported.

This format of cameras complements the installation, in 2019, of radiofrequency systems (RFIDs) at border posts and is part of the Central American Strategy for Trade Facilitation and Competitiveness with an emphasis on Coordinated Border Management.

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The report indicates that despite the pandemic, the installation of the camera system was completed in the originally scheduled time. The project began in February 2019 and ended its operational execution on February 16, 2021 (24 months).


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