SLANA Vice Chairman Prasad Jinadasa, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Managing Director Sarathkumara Premachandra, SLANA Chairman A.V. Rajendra, Merchant Shipping Director General Ajith Seneviratne, SLANA Treasurer Mohamed Tahir and SLANA Secretary Minnaz Riyal Pic by Pradeep Dilrukshana
By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
The Sri Lanka Association of NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier) Agents (SLANA) said that it would work with the new Ports and Shipping Minister to address the negativities created by the laws and regulations passed by the previous regime, which have caused the Colombo Port to be viewed negatively by the world.
SLANA Chairman A.V. Rajendra, in his annual address at the organisation’s annual general meeting last week, aired his grievances about the Gazette No. 1842/16 of 2013, an issue which has caused consternation among other logistics lobby groups over the past few years as well.
He said that the former Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga and Merchant Shipping Director General Ajith Seneviratne invited all stakeholders to submit fresh proposals to bring in new laws to benefit the country instead of a few with vested interests.
“We will also pursue this subject with our new Minister of Ports and Shipping and we are confident that Mahinda Samarasinghe would continue to do his best for all,” Rajendra said. He noted that the Ports and Shipping Ministry last year responded well to the issues raised by the shipping and logistics industry. A cabinet reshuffle last week saw Ranatunga taking over the Petroleum Resource Development Ministry.
Often in the past a change in the minister led to a change in the policies of a ministry. However, Samarasinghe is yet to issue a comment on the concerns raised on the Gazette No. 1842/16 of 2013.
When he took over duties at the ministry last week, his views were focused on the Sri Lanka Ports Authority issues and appointing a maritime professional
to head the agency.
Rajendra said that the gazette prevented service providers from collecting legitimate fees and charges from their customers for the services offered and that the gazette is totally against the international norms and practices.
“Parties with vested interest pressed upon the previous government to introduce such regulations bypassing all ethical practices or discussions with the stakeholders in the industry, which were detrimental to the logistics and service industry, image of the country and against one’s fundamental rights,” he said.
Specifically he noted that the law prevents the NVOCC agents from collecting terminal handling charges from clients in order to pay for the services purchased from terminals, which has led to the “Port of Colombo (to be) perceived by the regional NVOCC operators as a negative port”.
Rajendra added that the situation is compounded due to the principals of shipping liners and NVOCC operators running