Around 88 containers containing imported goods worth around Rs. five billion are being detained by the Customs for years, said the Ports Authority (SLPA).
The SLPA is unable to levy any charge for these items and managing space in its warehouses has become a serious issue.
Detained items include 12 containers of areca-nut since 2015, 39 containers of Basmati rice since 2019, 15 containers of tiles since 2020, five containers of vehicle spare-parts since 2013, four containers of clothing since 2019 and four containers of liquor and ethanol since 2020 and 2021.
A minimum Rs. 2.45 billion is due from these containers.
Subject minister Nimal Siripala de Silva met his officials and instructed them to clear these containers within a week.
He also called for changes to the Customs Ordinance to prevent unnecessary delays in the clearance process.