"We can make it happen even for ship management," she said referring to the government's massive investments in modernising port infrastructure and developing shipping-related services.
Bernhard Schulte Ship-Management manages over 700 ships out of 10 countries, De Silva told a ports and logistics conference in Colombo hosted by Sri Lanka Ports Authority and organized by Seatrade, an events company specializing in the maritime sector.
Of the 580 ports the firm's vessels call, it recognises only six as hubs: Singapore, Shanghai, Rotterdam, Dubai, Houston and Los Angeles/Long Beach.
"Why are they hubs? Because they have all the characteristics we look for as ship managers," De Silva said.Among these was dry docking capability with on-time delivery being extremely important, she said.
Manufacturers of shipping equipment should also be represented in the island's ports.
"This is where we need to act," De Silva said. "Some manufacturers are represented but most are not. We need service engineers who are trained by manufacturers, we need certification.
"We need stock points. Therefore we need seamless clearance in Customs. We need bonded storage outside the ports, without which it is difficult to consider Colombo as a hub."
Work ethics was another important requirement, De Silva said, noting that the firm had struck partnerships around the world with other companies based on trust and efficiency.
Bernhard Schulte Ship-Management Group selects its partners very carefully in order to provide an undisrupted service, she said.