July 04 (LBO) – Lengthy delays in automating Sri Lanka’s cargo clearing system were hurting the island’s chances of becoming a trading hub and making trading inefficient, a top freight forwarder said. “The automation of Sri Lanka’s cargo clearing system has not happened yet although it has been talked about for about five years,” said Niral Kadawatharatchie, chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders’ Association.
“We need to move the project forward. It’s a big problem because we can’t move forward as a logistics and trading hub. Our global trading capability is reduced.”
He told LBO that the service provider given the contract to build the automated cargo clearing system, modelled on the system in Singapore, was “struggling” to deliver on the original specifications.
“It is only now that they have begun testing an electronic manifest between the Customs and Sri Lanka Ports Authority that would allow transmitting of electronic manifests by ships’ agents,” Kadawatharatchie said.
“This is an important part of the system as it’s important for exports and imports. But it is just a part of the proposed system, not the full version. We still can’t electronically conduct our business