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Forex crisis: Perishable goods at Port to be auctioned

By Skandha Gunasekara 

All perishable imports in storage at the Colombo Port, and not cleared by the specified time period given by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), would be sold through a series of auctions, The Sunday Morning learnt.

Responding to a query regarding several consignments of perishable goods stuck at the Colombo Port due to the foreign currency crisis, SLPA Managing Director Upul Jayasinghe told The Sunday Morning that certain types of perishable goods left at the ports were auctioned after 48 hours.

“If there are perishable goods such as vegetables, they must be cleared within 48 hours. If they are not cleared within 48 hours, they are auctioned and sold,” Jayasinghe explained, adding that the process was carried out with assistance from the Customs Department.

“We inform Customs, and along with them, we put perishable items on auction if the goods are not cleared within that time,” Jayasinghe said, pointing out that this was standard procedure detailed in the applicable regulations.

Meanwhile, Customs Spokesman Sudaththa Silva explained that a duty must be paid to Customs for any goods sold at auctions.

“If imported goods are not cleared on time, they are declared as abandoned, and then the Ports Authority has the power to sell the goods at auctions. The specific time periods vary depending on the type of good.

“One part of the Ports Authority’s responsibilities is to calculate taxes on the abandoned goods. Once the goods are sold at auctions, the Ports Authority then pays Customs the relevant taxes,” he explained.