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June 28, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s logistics industry has warned that lengthy delays in automating cargo clearing procedures were eroding the island’s competitiveness as it seeks to position itself as a cargo hub. “It now takes too much time and money to get things done. We must look at ways and means of improving processes and addressing areas where delays are caused and minimising them,” Mohanadas said. “Our geographical position itself is not going to help us any further,” said S Mohanadas, chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders’ Association told a forum organised by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

“We need to create an environment for a logistics hub. There’s a lot of work we need to do to get to where we want to be.
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An initiative to automate customs procedures was more than 10 years in the making and still unfinished, as the island slipped further down a World Bank logistics performance index.

“Customs automation has been tried for 10 years but we still can’t file manifests online,” Mohanadas said.

Although Customs entries were now partly automated, freight forwarders still have to take hard copies to the authorities.

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