Shipping agents warn of Colombo hub status sinking
of Shipping Agents (CASA) has warned Colombo’s status as a maritime hub is
under threat by the failure to expedite capacity expansion, ease of business as
well as major port development moves to by neighbouring India.
A growing list of
challenges and pending unresolved issues was highlighted by CASA Chairman Iqram
Cuttilan at the Annual General Meeting held recently with new Ports and
Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena and new leadership of Port Authority
and Customs as well as private sector shipping industry in attendance.
We need to build capacity
“If we are to remain
competitive and grow further we just cannot only rely on our geographic
location. We need to build capacity,” Cuttilan said.
“As the shipping
industry, we are extremely concerned on the undue delay in operationalising
East Container Terminal. Despite 450 m of quay length of East Terminal having
been built, it is very unfortunate that this facility has been lying idle for
five years due to the indecisiveness,” CASA Chairman pointed out.
expressed the hope that Minister under his leadership as well as the leadership
of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the
Government will fast-track port development.
“Any delays in
operating ECT will affect Colombo’s position of being the TS hub of the Indian
Sub-Continent,” CASA Chief Cuttilan said.
The Port of Vizhinjam and the ambitious $ 1
billion project in Nicobar Islands will directly compete with Colombo.
Sri Lanka needs to promote the ease of doing business
that to be a maritime hub Sri Lanka needs to simplify processes, cut down red
tape, and promote the ease of doing business. Digitisation plays a significant
role in achieving this.
We will work very closely in promoting the maritime hub concept
“We will work very
closely with our members and stakeholders in promoting the maritime hub
concept. We will also actively engage with other industry associations,
stakeholders as well as the SLPA, the three container terminals to promote the
ease of doing business and reduce the barriers that are impeding the growth of
Maritime and logistics industry,” CASA Chief said.
Negative mind finds fault in everything Abdul Kalam quoted by CASA
He also said that 2021 is
going to be challenging as well. “Business is no longer going to be as usual. May
I conclude with a quote from Abdul Kalam, ‘A positive mind finds opportunity in
everything a negative mind finds fault in everything’,” CASA Chief Cuttilan