Lack of direct competition between Sri Lanka ports an issue: Eran


Nov 20, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka must explore the issue that led to the inadequate direct competition of Ports Authority controlled ports, a deputy minister said.

Delivering the keynote speech at the CILT International Conference 2015, Deputy Minister of State Owned Enterprises Eran Wickramaratne said direct competition is a critical factor for efficiency.

“Lack of direct competition between ports controlled by the same government authority was a critical factor. This is an issue that the Sri Lankan government must explore further too,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s second international port built by previous administration came under fire for not generating reasonable revenues through its port operations.

“We should also look into issues like the role of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority as both a regulator and an operator in competition with the private sector.”

Sea port competitiveness may suffer from poor physical infrastructure such as inadequate channel depth, shortage of berths, and limited cargo handling equipment, storage and transit areas.

It also suffered from limitations in soft infrastructure, such as labour skills, regulation, bureaucracy, and other institutional factors affecting port capacity utilization.

Sri Lanka doesn’t have a sufficient coherence in the way the Ministries of Ports, Transport and Public Enterprises operate with regard to logistics.

There are a number of government ministries involved in managing logistics in Sri Lanka.

For instance, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Aviation Authority, and SriLankan Airlines Cargo come under different ministries.

“It is understandable that businesses and industries today are confused because in the past when they had a problem, there was someone in politics and government that they could go to,”

“Issues could be resolved by a conversation with someone that had the power to unlock problems,”

“However, good governance means that we want to work differently, not on the basis of patronage and favours for a few, but on the basis that we will change the system to work in the industry’s favour.” Wickramaratne further said.