The US Dollar crisis in Sri Lanka has caused a long delay in securing the release of several imported items at the Colombo Port, and among them are goods classed as dangerous cargo, Sri Lanka Port Authority sources revealed.
These Sources said that highly flammable liquids imported to Sri Lanka are stuck at the Colombo Port as the required USD is not being released by banks to clear the items.
One supplier said on the condition of anonymity that his goods have been stuck at the port for nearly 8 weeks.
The supplier said that the goods had been shipped to Sri Lanka for a local paint manufacturer but has not been cleared as the local company is unable to obtain US$.
According to the supplier, the goods are highly flammable and should not be kept for long hours in extreme heat conditions.
“These goods should ideally be cleared in 24-48 hours but they have been stuck at the port for nearly 8 weeks,” the supplier said.
The Central Bank has imposed strict limits on making payments using USD as there is a shortage of US$ in Sri Lanka.
Another supplier said that they are forced to pay demurrage owing to the long delay to clear some of the goods in Colombo.
He noted that the dollar crisis in Colombo is posing a serious threat to their busines and is also hurting the confidence of exporters to Sri Lanka.
General Secretary of the All Ceylon General Port Employees’ Union Niroshan Gorakanage said that several goods remain stuck at the Colombo Port owing to the Dollar crisis.
He said that he is unaware if there are dangerous goods among the items as claimed by the suppliers but added that it is highly likely.
“If there are such goods then there is an issue as these items should be cleared soon,” he said.