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22nd August 2012

Open Discussion Issues related to SLPA's newly implemented Cargo Management Module, Organised by Shippers' Council

Picture of officials of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority

The open discussion organised by the Sri Lanka Shippers' Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce brought together officials of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, officials from the Bank of Ceylon (BoC) and representatives from the import, export trade.

The gathering was organized with the aim of discussing the operational issues and difficulties confronted with the SLPA's newly implemented cargo management module for Exports. The objective of the meeting was to facilitate trade more effectively and create a better plat-form to address the issues and arrive at workable solutions.

Issues related to service order, pre advice, stuffing functions, container operation from stores to SLPA, delaying payment of refunds, BoC online payment process, connectivity to BoC payment gateway through SLPA system were discussed at this meeting.

The large gathering of industry participants were concerned about the considerable amount of information required in the system and in some cases extended waiting time for confirmation. They were of the view that the trade needs a 24 hour operating system where exporters/importers can continue their operations without any interruption. A very effective system to accept exporters' issues during night operation is expected by the Trade. Eg: accepting firm guarantee on which they can process their work without interruption. They also urged SLPA to issue guidelines to have a firm operating framework.

Expressing his views on the implementation of cargo management module, Mr. Datta Gunasekera, Director Technical, in charge of the system said that SLPA had some difficulties at the beginning as many people were against automation but noted that they have managed to put matters in order and would monitor the activities closely. He was confident that by the end of the year systems would be almost fully automated. It was pointed out that the trade was slow to adapt to the new systems as they did not have proper understanding on the automation process. He further said that SLPA is in the process of implementing cargo management module for imports in the near future. The system would facilitate automated import cargo clearing operations through port of Colombo

Sri Lanka Shippers' Council, the apex body representing a large share amount of exporters and importers of the country, we always committed to help the trade in order to achieve continues improvement of facilities available for exporters and importers.

Commenting on the new developments of Cargo Management Module, Mr. Dinesh De Silva, Chairman of Sri Lanka Shippers Council pointed out that they were pleased that there had been rapid progress on the system and SLPA team is always willing to accommodate trade requirements.

"I expect all shippers to highlight the constrains and I wish to assure you that Council will take up all trade related issues with the relevant authorities ensuring a level playing field and will do our best to bring the industry to the next level. We all should work together to achieve fully automated system soon for both Exports and imports, he said

The Sunday Leader Article on 26 August 2012
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Sunday Observer Article on 26 August 2012
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Daily News Article on 25 August 2012
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