Sri Lanka cuts online tea export documentation charge

Feb 15, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka intends to cut automated tea export document processing charges, reducing costs for shippers of the island’s main export commodity and making them more competitive, officials said. Sri Lanka’s electronic export documentation project is, however, years behind schedule and exporters say the island is far behind other trading nations like Singapore in electronic commerce.

The system, designed and implemented by eServices Lanka, in which the government has a stake, allows tea exporters to submit export documents for approval electronically without having to visit the Tea Board. Vinesh Athukorala, chief executive, eServices Lanka, the firm in charge of the online documentation project, said the electronic data interchange charge will be reduced by 50 rupees from March 1.

Tea exporters now have to pay a fee of 250 rupees per transaction.

Exporters make a saving of an estimated 2.50 dollars per shipment and will also be assured of information security by submitting the tea ˜blend sheet’ online rather than manually, he said.

Lalith Hettiarachchi, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, said the ability to submit online customs declarations has been a boon to exporters