Still Stuck

August 22, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lankan manufacturers of vegetable oil vanaspati say unsold shipments are stuck in Indian ports and in local factories after New Delhi unilaterally capped duty free imports. Exports earnings, the association says, are in the region of 700,000 dollars a day. Some 200 containers are stuck in Indian ports since June, the Sri Lankan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association says, incurring heavy container detention and demurrage costs.

“Further a total 2,000 metric tonnes of finished products are held up in factories with the possibility of deterioration of quality and 50,000 metric tones of crude vegetable oil are idling in storage tanks from the first week of June,” the association said in a statement on Tuesday.

Ten local factories produce the palm oil based product, with four others producing similar product bakery shortenings. All suspended operations since June this year.

Local manufacturers say they are unable to meet financial and loan commitments to banks and manage fixed costs, such as salaries for over 3,000 employees.

India unilaterally capped duty free exports of vanaspati from Sri Lanka, restricting exports through a state owned agricultural marketin