Shippers Academy chief renews call for national maritime policy

17 June 2015 07:13 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga (left) and Shippers Academy Colombo CEO Rohan Masakorala launching the website for the Colombo International Maritime Conference
Pic by Waruna Wanniarachchi





By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
An expert renewed the call for a national maritime policy at an  event yesterday, which was attended by Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga who received it in a very positive manner.

“From the government of Sri Lanka, what we expect is that a national policy be implemented soon, because that has been talked about but has never really come out. Now that good pieces of legislation are coming, we would like a national policy,” Shippers Academy Colombo CEO Rohan Masakorala said at the launch of the Colombo International Maritime Conference.

He noted that the shipping industry has been limited to Colombo and its periphery, and an all encompassing policy is needed to attract necessary manpower from the rural areas, as well as to fully utilize the Hambantota Port.

“This country has never had a national policy. When policies are there, it is very easy for any country to go on. If you take India, they have policies for everything, but we don’t have a single one. This is where our downfall comes most of the time. If I get this done, I will be the first person to get a policy going,” Ranatunga supported the industry’s views.

Ranatunga noted that in the past, people who were not involved in the maritime industry were trying to run organizations.

“That’s what went wrong. What we have done now is that we want to get ideas from the industry and experts, and make a policy through that,” he noted. He further added that creating a policy will also help to get more investors into the Hambantota harbour.

“Right now, the money we earn in Colombo will have to be pumped to Hambantota. We need to find investors for that. There were a few who came, but they had bad experiences. So we need to get new domestic and foreign investors into Hambantota,” he said.

Recently, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce CEO Mangala Yapa too called for a national maritime policy, asking the government to create a better business climate, and to amend the existing Shipping Laws and the Merchant Shipping Act.

The Colombo International Maritime Conference will be held on September 25 and 26, coinciding with a National Maritime Week which has received the support of Ranatunga.

 
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