Sri Lanka to start e-commerce trials

Feb 16, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to start test runs on extending to several government agencies a long-delayed automated documentation system for trade that allows cargo to be cleared electronically, officials said. We appeal to all other government departments to follow the Tea Board, said Athukorala.

Tea exporters are saving 2.50 dollars per export shipment in time and money, he told a news conference.

If other government departments can also modernize like the Tea Board we can increase savings to the export sector. We need an apex body like an inter-ministerial task force to give leadership to the initiative and automate documentation in the next three to five months.

Jayanath Perera, a tea exporter and former head of the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council, said the automation of documentation had helped save time and money and make exporters more competitive.

Under the previous manual system it used to take a week or even 10 days to finally get a tea export permit. Now it takes 15-40 minutes – it’s like heaven.

Perera said shippers should be able to send containers into the port while sitting at their desks, as in other trading nations, and only visit the harbour if