COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s import trade has been warned they could lose a new online round-the-clock Customs clearance service if they don’t make enough use of it.
“Either we use it or we lose it,” said Dinesh De Silva, chairman, Import Section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
“If the available facility is not used, by July – August it will die a natural death” he told a forum organised by the chamber on the new 24×7 Customs service.
The service was introduced from 1 March, 2015 with the aim of making cargo clearance easier and faster as it can be done online and even at night.
But the trade has been reluctant to use it adequately, apparently because of fear of extra costs such as paying staff overtime or because extended hours meant to improve trade facilitation means working nights and weekends.
De Silva appealed to the trade to have a new approach to the way they work.
“This has a lot of value for importers and exports and cargo owners. If you make use of this new facility, you’re sure to make cost savings in the long run.
“But you have to change your pattern of work. Only then can you make use of the benefits of this new facility.”
De Silva warned the trade not to under-estimate the opportunity, saying if the trade does not make use of the online Customs clearing service during the trial period, the government might withdraw it.