“SL has failed to go beyond primary container transport hub status” | Daily News

“SL has failed to go beyond primary container transport hub status”

Romesh David
Romesh David

Sri Lanka has failed to go beyond as a primary container transport hub or turn it into a logistics supply chain for the region which has many powerhouses or production around the country, Romesh David, Chairman, National Logistic Committee Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said.

Noting that the government has an insane desire to hold on to its own land, David said the government somehow managed to do away from that through the PPP efforts in the port of Colombo which can easily be replicated outside the port of Colombo.

“And some of those things have to go beyond the port and it is to do with creating value for the big logistics players. It is really unreasonable that we do not encourage the biggest and the best logistics and transportation companies to come and actually set up their operations here.” Speaking on the importance of improving air connectivity, he said the government has to get rid of holding on to a monopoly in airport development, ground handling and overall aviation sector development activities.

Highlighting the need to digitize process at Sri Lanka customs, David stated that Sri Lanka has been using ASYCUDA, an information and communications technology (ICT)-based customs management system targeted at reforming the customs clearance processes for decades and has not been able to go the next level from there.

According to David, some 14 or 17 documents have to be handed out for every ship that calls at the Port of Colombo and every single transaction with regards to import and export is digitally submitted and recorded.

“However, somebody has to go with a piece of paper and hand the piece of paper over. Nevertheless we were about to change these outdated procedures with the onset of Covid pandemic. Unfortunately we are slipping back into the old ways and paper is coming back again.”

Speaking further he stated that transport has to be affordable for all and at the same time he emphasised the need to help vulnerable sections of the community in terms of affordability.

“Those vulnerabilities have to be addressed for food, shelter and education. We need to have a mechanism to identify the people who need it most and then make sure that that affordability is placed in their hands. I think affording transport also should go the same way, because that makes a quantum shift in our approach to transport itself.”

He stated that transport can then become self-sustained as it does not require handouts from the treasury in order to happen.

He said further massive incentives should be given in terms of creating a cycling industry in particular electric bikes and investing in creating walking areas particularly in high density urban areas like Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala and Galle.

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