Transport Stalemate

Mar 30, 2011 (LBO) – A surfeit of ministries handling transport in Sri Lanka has turned the sector into a “nightmare” with fragmented responsibilities preventing urgently needed reforms to modernise a long-neglected system, an expert said. A “lead agency” is required to provide proper guidance to develop the island’s transport system, said Amal Kumarage, chairman of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

The transport administration structure in Sri Lanka is “frightening” with responsibilities split among several ministries making it “complicated and a nightmare,” said Kumarage, a professor of transportation engineering at the Moratuwa University.

The ministry of transport handles land transport with institutions like the state-owned railway, state bus service and motor traffic department coming under it, he told a forum Monday organised by the Shippers’ Academy Colombo.

Then there is the ministry of private transport services in charge of long-distance bus services.

The ports and highways ministry is in charge of the island’s harbours and the national road network while a separate ministry for aviation is looking after the civil aviation authority, the national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines and airports, K