Online cargo clearance system struggles to find wider acceptanceJune 19, 2012, 8:31 pm
By Mario Andree
Sri Lanka Customs is delaying moves to go fully online with 20 percent of the trading community not willing to avail themselves of the online cargo clearance system already in place.
Sri Lanka Customs has introduced a faster system of online documentation for exports and vehicle imports (for now, with plans to cover the entire import sector). However users are not yet prepared to welcome the new mechanism.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority last year installed an online system to clear cargo which was expected to centralize the port, yards and Customs for faster clearance reducing many hassles faced by clearing agents.
Sri Lanka Customs marching in parallel introduced ‘Asycuda World’, a platform for exporter and initially only vehicle importers to submit their documents online for faster service.
Senior Customs official Dr. Tharaka Mahaulpatha said the Customs was ready to provide an accurate and faster service using the new platform to reduce delays and unnecessary queuing. According to him, the new system was in place despite minor shortcomings due to network and technical errors.
However 20 percent of the stake holders were not ready to make use of the platform, he told a forum organised by the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce last morning (19).
With the new system, the number of documents which required in the past had been reduced to one and four CDs and he hopes it would support a paperless environment in the near future.
Sri Lanka Customs has had several discussions with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the yards to link the service to provide a one-stop-shop platform to minimize hassle, which was being designed currently.
Dr. Mahaulpatha said, "We are ready with the system to support our clients, currently we are working on several options to provide a smooth operation with minimum paper work and in the future we will launch a paperless environment, now we are waiting for the green light from our Director General to shift our system fully online."
Director General Customs Dr. Neville Gunawardana said they had tried to fully implement the online system however the industry was not ready for such a move and the procedure was reversed. "We are ready and I will give the green light if the trade and industry gives me the consent that they were ready to accept the fully automated platform."
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Last Updated May 23 2013 | 10:49 pm