Chinese Squeeze

June 28 (LBO) – Sri Lankan exporters look set for difficult times with freight rates on the rise and their cargo being squeezed out of container ships chock full of Chinese exports, a top freight forwarder said Wednesday. “We do have a problem,” Niral Kadawatharatchie, chairman of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders’ Association told its 26th annual general meeting.

“Our exporters do not have enough space on ships calling at Colombo port and freight rates are going through the roof.”

With the US dollar weakening, US import power had got reduced with a consequent reduction in the number of containers shipped to the US.

At the same time, Kadawatharatchie said, the European Union’s currency, the euro, had become stronger.

European countries were therefore importing more goods from China, as a result of which all ships sailing to Europe were full, said Kadawatharatchie, who was re-elected chairman of the association.

Shipping industry experts say that Colombo’s strategic position near the main East-West trade route across the Indian Ocean and its emergence as a container transshipment hub for the sub-continent had benefited exporters.

Sri Lankan exporters have long enjoyed relatively cheap freight