Apr 28, 2020 (LBO) – The clearance of cars at the Hambantota Port is slow, and the port is concerned that they would not meet the April 30th deadline for clearing imported vehicles.
“No vehicles were cleared over the weekend, and the number cleared on Monday was 203 while port dues have been paid for 425 chassis, which we hope would leave the port soon. We cannot understand why they are not clearing the vehicles on time, as the demurrage waiver period is ending soon,” says Tissa Wickremasinghe, COO, HIPG.
Port officials say that clearance applications received today are for only 220 chassis, and 5,755 vehicles are still lying in their yard awaiting clearance.
The port had previously informed vehicle importers that demurrage costs incurred from the 16 March 2020 to the 30 April 2020 will be waived off. They also communicated instructions by the Sri Lanka Police and HIP on cargo clearance procedures to wharf clerks and vehicle importers associations to ensure their health and safety, as well as the health and safety of the people who live near the port. The Hambantota Wharf Clerks Association has acknowledged the measures taken by HIP by letter, placing on record their appreciation of the entire staff of the port, for the safety measures taken in the pandemic’s midst, and for the understanding and support extended by the port, especially where operational matters were concerned.
HIP officials reiterate that all facilities are working round the clock to speed up clearance, including Sri Lanka Customs who are open for business even on weekends. HIP’s document center is also operational and HIP has enabled shipping lines to carry out online payments and transfers for stevedoring and navigational bills and also plans to implement online payment for customers who clear the vehicles at HIPG. e-DO facility for customers will commence on the 1st of May to quicken the clearance process, making it more convenient and minimize human interactions.