The reconditioned motor vehicle importers to the country said that they have no objection to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s (SLPA) move in routing ships carrying motor vehicles from Colombo to hambantota port for unloading.
“We have no problem with that. We have made the necessary arrangements to meet this change,” Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL) President Yoga Perera told Mirror Business.
Perera further stated that they have the required car carriers in place and are willing to make the trip to Hambantota.
“There will be an increase in the transport costs, as vehicles unloaded at Hambantota will have to be transported to Colombo. But we are ready to bear that,”pereranoted.
According to motor sector analysts, about 85 percent of the motor vehicles imported to Sri Lanka are reconditioned. Meanwhile, the Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA)—THE organisation consisting of brand new motor vehicle importers who function as agents to motor vehicle brands, which earlier labeled the SLPA’S move as ‘unfeasible’, now says that they are ready to adapt to the change. “The SLPA has informed us that if we clear our vehicles within 24 hours from the port premises, vessels would be permitted to call in at Colombo. And only those shipments we may not be able to clear within 24 hours will be diverted to Hambantota,” CMTA President Tilak Gunasekara told mirror business.
According to Gunasekara, the CMTA members have the ability to clear the vehicles from the port within 24 hours.
“It is the reconditioned vehicles that cause the congestion at the harbour since they bring in more vehicles than we do,” the CMTA chief noted.
As he pointed out, the ratio of brand new and reconditioned vehicles imported to the country per month is 1 to 8.
The SLPA in a recent statement stated that it would not waver in its decision to unload motor vehicles imported to Sri Lanka at Hambantota from June 1, 2012, despite “disparaging remarks by some parties.”
Meanwhile, the CMTA also has written to President Rajapaksa requesting that those customers who had already opened Letters of Credit (LCS) before the duty revision be exempted from the duty increase.
“We have written to the President but still haven’t got any response,” Gunasekara said.
“We don’t want the entire duty structure to be revamped, all we ask from the President is to be reasonable and grant us this request,” he added.
He went on to state that they will wait a few days more since the New Year holidays came between the date the letter was sent and they would then request for a personal meeting with the President if there is no response.