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Sri Lanka’s China-built port asks importers to clear 5,000 cars, no demurrage

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, operated by CM Ports of China has asked importers to clear over 5,000 vehicles that had been piled up during curfews slapped to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

Demurrage from March 16 to April 30 would be waived.

“Up to date only around a thousand vehicles out of approximately 6500 have been cleared,” Tissa Wickremasinghe, Chief Operating Officer of Hambantota International Port Group said.

“For us to expedite clearance, we need the full cooperation of importers.

“As a port, we run a 24-hour operation and we hope we will be able to clear the vehicles by the end of this month.

“The authorities have ensured that all relevant government departments are operational to facilitate the clearance.”

Sri Lanka has declared all port operations, including the movement of import and export cargo, as essential services.

Documentation is being done and the port is also in the final process of implementing an E-doc facility.

Therefore, the document center at HIP is operational and is open to its partners and clients, to handle their paperwork without delay. HIP has also enabled an online payment transfer system and is in the final process of implementing the e-DO facility for customers.

Police have issued rules to wharf clerks not to make stops between Mirijjawila and the port to protect the health and safety of communities living near the port.

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“It requires visitors to drive directly into the port and the same rules apply on their return after the clearance – they need to drive back making no unscheduled stops,” HIPG said.

“Occupants of these vehicles are strictly prohibited from entering any shops, eatery, or other establishment in proximity to the temple area outside the port gate.”

Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) requires all individuals arriving at the port to wear face masks and gloves.

Vehicles must be parked next to the entrance to the Hambantota Maritime Center, (the port’s Admin Building), located in the “Nerabuma” area.

Once the clearing agents and drivers enter the port, the person clearing the vehicle will be escorted to the disinfection cubicle. (Colombo/Apr26/2020)

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