Presence of global companies vital to transform Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Presence of global companies vital to transform Sri Lanka

The presence of global companies is essential to transform Sri Lanka from a transhipment hub to a first class maritime nation said CEO, Shippers’ Academy Colombo, Rohan Masakorala.

Expressing views on the 2018 Budget, he said that he is a strong proponent of having global shipping and logistics players in the country to be competitive and march forward.

“We must open our doors to the world of new ideas and investments and be driven by innovation and new technology. Global owners of business must be encouraged to invest in the country which will have a ‘multiplier effect’,” Masakorala said. Shippers also hailed the move to implement the Customs Law and reform certain archaic laws to meet the current needs of the country. “We welcome the implementation of the Customs Ordinance which augurs well for the export and import trade,” a shipper said. He said the move to open up the shipping and logistics sector for global investments is a step in the right direction to expand the sectors. “If not we would remain as frogs inside a well.” The 2018 Budget envisages to lift restrictions on foreign ownership of ship agency and freight forwarding businesses. The move is aimed at encouraging shipping and logistics companies to establish ventures in the country. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act and the Merchant Shipping Act will be amended to suit current maritime industry needs.

However, there is a strong lobby against the liberalisation moves which the shipping and logistics industry experts say is not the right time to open up the industry to global players as it is not yet fully developed. Opponents of liberalization said there is no need to open up as foreign shipping lines are already present in the country while many local agents have invested in infrasrutcture. “Liberalizing the industry will not have significant benefits to the country,’ a shipping and logistics industry expert said. LF