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Sri Lanka maritime industry needs proper policy: Minister

Sep 25, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga says that the maritime industry progress has been held back due the lack of clear policy and its implementation. “I strongly believe that we can develop the maritime economy into hub status with the assistance of the stakeholders of the industry,” Ranatunga said at the inauguration of the Colombo International Maritime Conference 2015.

“I’am aware that shipping policy was developed in the past but no correct action was taken to implement the same,” Maritime industry stakeholders will have to play a substantial role in this regard the minister said. “The government and the cabinet will study and find out the urgent reforms needed in the sector to increase the business environment of the ports around the island,” “We will need the support of the international as well as the local stakeholders to give us ideas and proposals to put a national policy framework forward.” Analysts say the new policy should be a public private partnership instead of being purely state driven like in China or industry driven like in South Korea. Sri Lanka is considered as the trading hub in the Indian Sub Continent due to its perfect strategic and geographical location.

Karu Jayasuriya, speaking at the conference said: "We want more mainline callers to use Sri Lankan ports, we want to expand cruise tourism, bulk and Ro-Ro shipping in Hambantota and Trincomalee, bunkering, ship making and repair services, and new areas such as ship financing, registration, arbitration and maritime education." Data shows that Sri Lanka’s Colombo port has continued to meet the challenges in the maritime sector successfully with two new main shipping lines starting using the Port this year. During the first six month of this year the number of vessels calling at the port has increased by 12.

7 percent and the cargo tonnage has increased by 2.8 percent. Container handling has also increased by 6.

4 percent.
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