Sri Lanka draws Australia’s Linfox group

Dec 12 (EconomyNext) – One of Australia’s largest transport firms, Linfox, has shown interest in a new airport in southern Sri Lanka which the government is trying to promote as an air-sea transport hub along with the nearby new deep-water port.

David Fox, director of Linfox group, Australia’s largest privately-held logistics company, said there were opportunities in air freight and tourism between Australia and Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

There was 70 million dollars worth of airfreight going from Melbourne to Colombo and Male and opportunities for exports to Australia on the return leg, he said.

Noting how he had to fly through Singapore to get to Colombo from Melbourne, Fox said: "The quickest way is a straight line. Now there’s an extra link which means extra cost. There’s a huge opportunity there."

Sri Lanka is trying to promote its new airport in Mattala and nearby Hambantota port as an air-sea logistics hub for entrepot trade.

The Linfox group set up by founder Lindsay Fox in 1956 started with one truck and today operates 6,500 trucks in 11 countries with 26,000 employees, Fox said.

"We’re the largest user of roads and second largest user of inter-modal road-rail transport in Australia," Fox told Tuesday’s Hambantota Conclave 2014, a forum to promote investment in the new southern city which is being designed and built from scratch.

"Tourism is a huge opportunity – to build hotels," he said. "There’s no point in calling tourists until you have the infrastructure to support it."






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