Sri Lankan port opens up paperless import clearance

Legislation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Sri Lanka wants to reduce contact during the import process as coronavirus continues to spread.

A port in Sri Lanka is offering a new paperless electronic clearance process for import containers in a bid to guard against COVID-19 and pave the way for greater efficiency.

The South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) said the measures comply with government-issued social distancing directives and allow clearance documents to be submitted digitally.

In return, delivery advice will be received from SAGT in electronic form, meaning clearing agents will no longer need to visit the Terminal Documentation centre.

The existing 'CUSDEC' (customs declaration) process will be fully integrated with the new system, Sri Lanka Customs has said.

Furthermore, importers are being offered up to an extra 38 days of terminal storage to assist them through the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is hoped that not only will paperless clearance benefit trade going through Sri Lanka now, but that it could also pave the way for greater efficiency and a totally contactless import system going forward.

SAGT's chief commercial officer Ted Muttiah said: "We are committed to serving the diverse stakeholders of the international trade supply chain community. Our collective effort aims to serve our nation in its hour of need."

Launched in 1999, SAGT was the first public private partnership container terminal in Sri Lanka and is one of three operators in the Port of Colombo today.