Sri Lanka will host its first ever international logistics conference on August 1 and 2, 2019, in a bid to support the country’s aspiration to become a logistic hub in the region.
Addressing a press briefing in Colombo yesterday, Shippers’ Academy CEO Rohan Masakorala stressed that the promotion of the country’s hub potential is key for Sri Lanka to attract foreign investors and shipping lines to develop the country as a logistics hub.
Colombo International Logistics Conference, which is scheduled to be held at Galadari Hotel, will feature 20 international speakers discussing modern logistics trends, South Asia’s logistics market and the emerging role of Sri Lanka as a global logistics centre.
Masakorala announced that the organisers expect around 250 foreign delegations to the conference from countries such as India, Japan, Australia and China.
The delegates will get a first-hand idea of the ports of Sri Lanka and key developments in the country including Colombo Port City which is set to attract US$15 billion in investments.
Masakorala noted that many in the global logistic industry are unaware of the country’s potential as a logistic hub.
He pointed out that Sri Lanka has a unique and unmatchable geographic advantage, given its close proximity to Indian subcontinent, which is home to over two billion people, and the fastest growing economic region in the world with an ever expanding middle class consumer market and a regional manufacturing base.
“Sri Lanka is ideally located to have storage and distribution centres where almost all major global shipping lines use Colombo as the main port for transhipment. Hambantota is the biggest roll-on/roll-off facility in South Asia and is a developing bulk port,” he said.
He remarked that Sri Lanka has a potential to become an intra-regional hub considering its ideal connectivity to Dubai and Singapore by both air and sea.
In addition to major deep draught ports, the country is also strongly networked through regional air connectivity.
Masakorala also touched on the special laws and tax concessions for investments which compliment the country’s logistic hub aspirations.
However, he acknowledged that the country lost an opportunity to Singapore to become a logistic hub in 1962 when the socialist-leaning government forced out the multinational power and energy firms to set up a nationalised oil industry.
As a result, Masakorala said these firms shifted their operations to Singapore and consequently the city state of the size of Colombo became a top logistic hub. (NF)