Sri Lanka’s exporters face new fees

April 22, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters have been slapped with a host of new fees that were increasing their costs, and reducing their competitiveness, an official said. In the last few months, shippers have been called to pay a growing number of new fees by shipping lines, freight forwarders and others in the supply chain, sometimes for routine work for which there had been no previous charges Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council chairman Jayanath Perera said Friday.

It started little by little, Perera said Friday. Some lines did charge, some didn’t. Because this created a tendency for shippers to patronise those lines which did not have these extra charges now it seems that everybody is adopting the same charges.

Exporters associations on Thursday released an e-mail by a big line in which it listed a series of fees ranging, ranging from a Bill of Lading (BL) fee on exports and a late BL pick up fee to a fee for releasing goods against bank guarantees. The fees ranged from four to 25 dollars per BL.

We’re at their mercy, Perera said. Once we load the cargo, we can’t do any financial transactions without the BL, which is the most importa