Sri Lankan importers charged with abusing port storage

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lankan importers of containerised cargo are delaying clearing of cargo in order to make use of cheaper storage available at the Colombo port, Sri Lanka Ports Authority officials said.

They said large numbers of containers are not cleared for several days because the consignees found it more convenient and less costly to keep it inside the port.
"Thirty five percent of containers stay in port for five days or longer," an SLPA official said. "That should not be the case."

"They are using cheap and safe storage at SLPA warehouses," an SLPA official told a recent forum, adding that it would be more costly for consignees to hire storage space outside.

The practice was particularly prevalent over weekend when no demurrage is charged.

Government officials discussed a proposal to start charging demurrage after two days to speed up clearance of cargo and reduce congestion.

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