Colombo International Logistics Conference : Sri Lankan, regional and global logistics aspects on one platform | Sunday Observer

Colombo International Logistics Conference : Sri Lankan, regional and global logistics aspects on one platform

Over 300 participants including 20 foreign speakers, 50 foreign delegates and 120 next generation professionals will gather in Colombo on August 1 and 2 to be a part of the Colombo International Logistics Conference which will be the first international level conference to be held in the country since the 21/4 debacle.

The conference happens at a time when the Sri Lanka Ports Authority celebrates its 40th anniversary and in the wake of Lonely Planet reconfirming Sri Lanka as its Top Destination for 2019.

As the Indian Ocean’s emerging mega maritime, logistics and distribution centre, Sri Lanka is a location that connects giving speed and access to supply chains, reducing lead time and cost of unit operations of logistics. Industry experts say it is paramount for the country and for the Colombo Port to retain its position as a major transshipment hub in South Asia.

Founder Chairman of the Conference, Rohan Masakorala says he has received tremendous support so far from the industry, foreign missions and government organisations to organize this event.

“We have met diplomats of almost all foreign missions in Colombo. The response is overwhelming. The diplomat fraternity is keen to see the representatives of their countries participating in this logistics conference as this is a great opportunity for the industry to understand future challenges and opportunities,” says Masakorala. The conference coincides with the summer holidays in Europe and the US. “However, the major shipping and logistics companies of the US and Europe have pledged support and have conveyed to us that their regional representatives would be participating.”

The foreign speakers coming to the Colombo conference represent countries such as Europe, the US, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Fifty other delegates and with the local industry leaders and representatives, policy makers and students the number of participants will reach 300. Nearly 120 students from five state universities Moratuwa, Colombo, KDU Ratmalana, Ocean University and NSBM will be sponsored. “The interest shown by the university students to attend the conference is a very positive sign. We are encouraged as one third of the participants will be next generation representatives,” he said.

The conference which covers Sri Lankan, regional and global aspects of logistics, transformation of the logistics industry, technology and other areas of the industry, will be combined with port visits, free zone visits, optional tours as the country has been designated as the ‘top travel destination for 2019’ by Lonely Planet.

The conference is put together by CIMC Events, which had two major conferences in Colombo on the maritime industry of Sri Lanka in 2015 and 2016. CIMC Events has also conducted two international conferences in Mumbai, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2017/2018 (South Asia Maritime and Logistics Forum).

He said Sri Lanka is the only location which connects two major hubs of Far-East and Middle East within four days of sailing or four hours of flying. This unique advantage combined with the Indian sub-continent market gives an unprecedented advantage to reduce costs, deliver on time to markets and provide access to consumers.

Masakorala was thankful to many sponsors and individuals who have been very supportive throughout the organizational process of the conference. Some of the key institutions include SLPA, BOI, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Tourism Promotion Bureau, Department of Commerce and Foreign Ministry. “The Foreign Ministry and the Department of Commerce have done a tremendous job to support us. They didn’t look at this as a private initiative. That is the way this country should move forward.”

Talking about Sri Lanka’s position he said, “We do not have to go far to look for markets. We are next to a 1.3 billion market which can offer enormous opportunities for every sector to benefit,” Masakorala said.

As South Asia’s population and the middle-income group expand, demand for products for manufacturing and consumption is likely to triple or quadruple by 2050, making a huge demand for cost effective logistics services.

The space in Sri Lanka is unmatchable to any other geographic location to provide logistics to emerging markets. - CJ