Easier Shipments

Dec 21 (LBO) – The threat of higher freight rates on Sri Lankan exports to Europe is easing, former Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council chairman Jayanath Perera said. Exporters were forced to pay high rates six months ago when a surge in Chinese exports led to space shortages for Sri Lankan cargo on ships calling Colombo port.

The Chinese export surge came in response to government concessions for exports for a limited time period, Perera said.

The shortage of container slots on vessels calling Colombo was made worse when big shipping lines shifted some of their scheduled calls from Colombo to Indian ports to cater to booming exports from the sub-continent.

Exporters at the time complained that their containers were being squeezed out of vessels because they were chock full of Chinese and Indian cargo and that freight rates were going through the roof.

But shipping liner officials said they had no choice but cater to markets that gave them better returns.

The weakening US dollar that reduced US import power and the strengthening euro that drew more imports to Europe also contributed to the problem at the time.

Shipping industry experts