Contentious Sri Lanka shipping reforms under spotlight at forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan government plans to liberalise shipping by removing foreign ownership controls will be discussed at a forum of key public and private sector stakeholders tomorrow.

The Public-Private Dialogue is organized to provide a platform for all stakeholders, including the private sector, to share their views and concerns, a statement by the International Trade Centre (ITC), which is hosting the forum, said.

It aims to “overcome impediments to transparency and accommodate greater inclusion of stakeholders in decision-making in maritime, logistics and transport reform,

“The PPD will deliberate upon the potential impact of liberalisation in the shipping and logistics sector and bring in more visibility and transparency to the interested parties of the government agenda.”

Consultations that took place as part of the National Export Strategy highlight that only limited interactions between stakeholders take place, the ITC said. “As a result, greater coordination needs to be facilitated between stakeholders to ensure that the needs of the logistics sector are met.”

The forum to discuss reforms of the maritime, logistics and transport sector is being organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Ministry of Finance within the framework of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance Project funded by the European Union.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ambassador of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, HTung-Lai Margue said, “Sri Lanka is well-positioned to become a regional hub, and this event will help to identify the reforms required for Sri Lanka to achieve this goal, also for trade in Europe”.

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Hon. Mangala Samaraweera said, “Sri Lanka is on the cusp of a major developmental drive that will establish its position as a vital trade hub in the  Indian Ocean region. The reform of the logistics sector as a key driver is highly instrumental for this”.

Samaraweera has said the government will press ahead with liberalizing the shipping industry, a move opposed by a domestic shipping agency cartel and freight forwarders.
(COLOMBO, 01 October, 2018)

 

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