By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka’s logistics sector stakeholders recently expressed their dissatisfaction towards the government for not treating them as a priority, and charged the lack of attention as one of the key reasons for the sector to continue to struggle to attract the required workforce.
Capitalising the platform given at the Sri Lanka Human Capital Summit 2016 to detail out the hurdles faced, the industry stakeholders called for a better structure, plans and greater recognition.
Pointing out the lack of direction from the government to push the industry forward, Aitken Spence Maritime, Logistics, and Cargo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake said: “We need a ministry in charge of logistics. We don’t even have a Director General in charge. It is imperative that we have a logistics master plan to address the challenges faced which includes HR gaps”
“Just having a vision of being a logistics hub and then having no ministry to take charge will not take us anywhere,” he added.
Sri Lanka Shippers Council Chairman Sean Vandort reflected similar sentiments. According to him, logistics is still in the “poverty mentality” game.
“Logistics was never seen to play a pivotal role in the maritime space. It is in the lower order and the government did not make the policies to see proper talent rising up from the grass root level,” he charged.
To give the sector its due resignation, the government was urged to introduce logistics at school curriculum level.
However, while all blame cannot be piled on the authorities, the discussion highlighted that private sector companies were also at fault for driving away the existing workforce as they are expected to work more for lower pay.
“We would like to see a fair wage structure. The executive post is like overworking a bull. It is to save cost, and get the maximum. This results for majority to drop out. For a mere Rs. 5000 increase they go abroad. That’s where we lose the people,” noted Vandort.
While the government is confident
in becoming a logistics hub in the coming decade, sentiments of industry stakeholders seemed otherwise.