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Sri Lanka’s SAGT says e-clearing is now live at its Colombo port terminal

ECONOMYNEXT – South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT a unit of Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings) says it has started paperless clearing of containers at Colombo port which will also reduce the risk of Coronavirus.

“The initiative is in response to the need for innovating current work practices in view of social distancing directives issued by the Government of Sri Lanka,” SAGT said in a statement.

“The easy to use email-enabled process ensures the complete digitization of the clearance process significantly improving efficiency and accuracy.”

‘..[T]he initiative offers increased scope for achieving even greater efficiencies in the upstream and downstream processes towards a totally contactless import clearance process.”

SAGT’s e-clearance process is linked to the paperless Customs Declaration (CusDec) process already implemented by Sri Lanka Customs.

Electronic clearing allows shipping lines, customs clearing, and handling agents to submit documents digitally and in turn receive the delivery advice (DA) from SAGT also in electronic form.

Chief Executive Officer Romesh David said Minister Fernando had taken decisive action to bring “a long-overdue global best practice initiative to reality”.

Sri Lanka’s shippers and logistics sector had been pushing for e-clearance for decades with little success.

E-clearance had improved health and safety by eliminating the need for clearing agents to visit the Terminal Documentation Centre.

But e-clearance has to be maintained after the Coronavirus crisis to maintain global competitiveness and improve the ease of doing business, the firm said.

SAGT had provided uninterrupted terminal services throughout the crisis as operating costs went up.

“We have been working closely with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and other authorities to ensure full compliance with all additional safety measures to our staff and other stakeholders engaged with the terminal at this time,” Ted Muttiah SAGT’s Chief Commercial Officer said.

“..[As an essential service provider we are committed to serving the diverse stakeholders of the international trade supply chain community.”

SAGT said it had offered 31 days of terminal storage free-time for general cargo and 38 days storage free-time for unaccompanied personal baggage (UPB) containers and was giving he lowest charge of storage tier for from April 14 to May 07, 2020. (Colombo/May03/2020-sb)

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