22nd July, Colombo: Hayleys Free Zone Limited issuing a statement to the media today categorically denied the allegations levelled against the company in connection with importing garbage to Sri Lanka. In light of recent adverse media publicity in relation to 130 container loads of used mattresses that are currently stored at the Hayleys Free Zone yard premises, the company clarified that these mattresses were imported by Ceylon Metal Processing Corporation (Pvt) Limited, who is the actual owner of the cargo.
Hayleys Free Zone is a legal entity established under the Commercial Hub Regulation Act No.1 of 2013 and operates as an offshore location to provide logistics services to global clients, mainly with the aim of offering storage and value added services for re-export, as done in other free zones across the Globe.
Hayleys Free Zone entered into an agreement with the freight forwarder ETL Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, who was appointed by Ceylon Metal Processing Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, for the purpose of processing and re-exporting the mattresses in question.
The said cargo was consigned to Hayleys Free Zone by the freight forwarder ETL Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, as per the Hub Regulation where it states that any cargo arriving at the Free Zone premises must be consigned to the Free Zone operator. Though the CUSDEC states the consignee as Hayleys Free Zone Limited, the company stated that it had no legal entitlement to the cargo and was not the owner or the importer of these used mattresses, as clearly shown in the commercial invoice.
The company further stated that the cargo in question was accepted to the Hayleys Free Zone yard, after carefully scrutinizing the documents which stated that the 130 containers were non- hazardous cargo.
Out of the 130 container loads of used mattresses, Hayleys Free Zone has processed and re-exported 29 containers up to now. In terms of processing, Hayleys Free Zone has been providing services to dismantle the mattresses and separate the fabric, sponge, felt and steel, thereafter packing each of these items into separate containers for re-export as per the requirement of Ceylon Metals. In light of the current situation, Hayleys Free Zone revealed that it has taken a decision to processes these mattresses and re-export them expeditiously at the cost of the company.
No Connection to 102 Containers at the Port of Colombo
Refuting further allegations in relation to 102 containers lying at the Port of Colombo, Hayleys Free Zone Limited stated that it had no connection to the said 102 containers. Director of Hayleys Free Zone Limited, Asanka Ratnayake said, “Hayleys Free Zone is not involved in any way or manner with the 102 containers presently lying at the Port of Colombo. It is not the importer nor consignee nor logistics services provider in respect of the said containers.”
Meanwhile Chairman and Chief Executive of Hayleys PLC, Mohan Pandithage said, “Being an ethical and socially responsible company, Hayleys will in no way be involved in anything as unethical as importing garbage to our motherland.”
Hayleys Free Zone wishes to thank the BOI for the support extended thus far and will work closely with the BOI to facilitate the expeditious processing of the current stock of used mattresses stored at the Hayleys Free Zone yard premises.
The Company also stated that it will work closely with the Central Environment Authority to ensure that the mattresses lying at the Hayleys Free Zone yard does not pose any risk to the environment.
With a history spanning over 140 years Hayleys PLC is a company that accounts for 3.53% of Sri Lanka’s export income, reaching a turnover of USD 1 Billion in 2017, becoming the first listed company to reach this milestone. The Group went on to report a turnover of Rs.220Bn for the financial year 2018/19. The Group has also consistently maintained its position amongst Sri Lanka’s Most Respected Companies, and was also ranked No.1 in LMD’s Top 100 over several years. The company has also secured the prestigious Best Corporate Citizen “Grand Slam” award in 2016, becoming the first company to receive this award in recognition of consistently winning the Best Corporate Citizen Award for five years, due to its commitment to being a sustainable and ethical company.