June 27, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan freight forwarders have complained that the lack of Customs automation is a serious obstacle to improving efficiency of trade and achieving the island’s aim of becoming a logistics hub.
Waidyaratne said the freight forwards association has decided to approach the government at the highest level and prepare a position paper on Customs automation for President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“We feel this is one of the most important issues we face and it must be dealt with at the highest level.”
“Progress in the implementation of Customs automation is rather disappointing,” said Ruwan Waidyaratne, the outgoing chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwardersâ€™ Association.
“Despite several rounds of talks with Customs and other agencies we have not made headway,” he told the association’s annual general meeting.
Sri Lanka shipping and trading community has long complained about the slow pace of automation of the island’s trade procedures.
A project to introduce electronic transactions, known as electronic data interchange, and reduce and remove paperwork is several years behind schedule and proceeding at a snail’s pace.
The delays are hindering the country’s ambitions