Opening Up

Nov 23, 2007 (LBO) – Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping line and Colombo port’s top customer, advised Sri Lanka to further liberalise the sector for the island to become a logistics hub. Maard said Colombo does have a great opportunity to become a strong logistics hub provided it acted fast to remove existing constraints.

“Colombo has the potential to capture regional business but needs regulatory reform and simplified customs and other procedures,” Maersk Lanka managing director, Eric Maard said.

Being able to connect to global markets is fast becoming a key aspect of a country’s ability to compete and grow, provide employment and reduce poverty, he told a seminar on Sri Lanka’s prospects of becoming a logistics hub for the region.

It was organised by the Asian Development Bank, the Freight Forwarders’ Association and the Academy for International Trade and Transport.

“For those countries not able to connect, the cost of exclusion is large and growing,” Maard said.

Colombo port needs to urgently expand capacity, improve productivity and ship turnaround times, cut red tape and make doing business easier and quicker.

If not it risks losing its competitive