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CASA to support pressing industry need

Chrishantha Fernando (CASA), Capt. A.V. Rajendra (CASA Ex-co), Ralph Anandappa (Vice Chairman/CASA), Nimal Ranchigoda (Chairman/CASA), P.A. Dias (Director -ADP, Sri Lanka Customs) and Dhammika Walgampaya (Secretary General/CASA) at the presentation.

Automated cargo clearance in Sri Lanka, with the use of IT and well defined processes, has been a vital need to gain a competitive edge in the ports, shipping and logistics industry. This aspect, for some reason, has been slow in its development and has left room for much needed improvement.

To support this important activity, Sri Lanka Customs have recently initiated a project which will accept cargo manifests for import cargo directly from ship's agents and forwarders through electronic means.

This is facilitated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as part of its ASYCUDA Program (Automated System for Customs Data) which allows electronic data interchange (EDI) between Customs Administrations and the trade community.

Ceylon Association of Ships Agents, organized a seminar recently where a presentation was held at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Auditorium, to make its members aware of the project and welcomed the initiative by Customs and assured their fullest cooperation towards the same. The seminar also gave the CASA members the opportunity to make clarifications from officials of the Customs Department and an UNCTAD representative who was present.

The process would require ship's agents to organize cargo manifest data in an XML format specified by UNCTAD/Customs and transmit same to Customs in a secure manner.

The implementation would see a few more technical presentations being made by Customs and a test phase before moving over to the live environment which will eventually result in increased efficiency, significant reduction in handling paper documents and other indirect benefits.
(DN 29102009)

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