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Sri Lanka Shippers strongly protest against the “unethicsl surcharges”

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council has strongly protested against the “unacceptable and hasty decisions” taken by the authorities which has affected the import and export sectors of Sri Lanka.

Issuing a statement, the Council said that the import and export sectors of Sri Lanka, which comprise the critical and crucial economic segments of Sri Lanka and which contribute to the country’s overall commercial activities, have been seriously affected by the recent action of the Minister of Ports and Shipping.

The Council is perturbed by introducing and implementing the gazette No.2321/62 new gazette annulling the Gazette No. 2041/10 dated 17th October, 2017, which was originally introduced on 27th October, 2013, to the benefit of Importers and exporters, since its introduction.

The benefits to importers and exporters which have accrued since the implementation of the Gazette No. 2041/10 dated 17th October, 2017, have prevented several anti-competitive practices which have been carried out by service providers for several years before its implementation, the statement said.

The annulling of the Gazette No. 2041/10 has created a ripple effect, which will result in Sri Lanka’s imports and exports becoming costlier and uncompetitive, due to the unethical surcharges which will be levied, and which will lead to the loss of the country’s market share in the global market.

After 2017, the relevant legislation in Sri Lanka recognized the concept of an all-inclusive freight cost for imports and exports, which was payable by the contracting party.

A Delivery Order payment was the only fee that was payable outside of the all-inclusive freight cost. What this meant was that when importing goods on a Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) basis, the importer was only required to pay the local delivery order fee.

“It is the responsibility of the shipping line to subsequently pay the Sri Lanka Ports Authority for the unloading and loading of vessels, which is the stevedoring charges. In an all-inclusive freight payment, these charges are in turn, paid in US dollars by the shipping line to the SLPA,” the statement said.

The statement said that a recent article which was published on 10th April, 2023 in the print media, incorrectly alludes to a leakage of foreign currency which prevailed prior to the implementation of the new Gazette 2321/62.

“The information contained in the media article regarding dollar leakage is a gross misinterpretation of the facts. Paying the cost of goods in international trade is an accepted norm and has to be the total of all services rendered for the goods to reach the buyer.

The original Gazette No. 2041/10 strongly supported this by establishing the need for the contracting party to pay all charges so that there is no breaking of costs at different points.

On the contrary, rescinding the Gazette No. 2041/10 has now authorized any operator/provider of a service, to levy any amount, at any point, irrespective of the terms of the contract,” the statement added.

The Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council said that it is their hope the “unacceptable and hasty decisions” which have been taken will be re-visited, to address the interests of the country first and not to cater to the selfish and own advantage of a section of the logistics community.

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