Sri Lanka’s location should be boon for business, not smugglers

ECONOMYNEXT – Logistics professionals should make better use of modernised Sri Lankan transportation infrastructure to exploit for trading the island’s geographical location which remains not fully used except by drug smugglers, the speaker of the parliament said.

Transport and logistics makes an important contribution to the economy, Karu Jayasuriya told a conference held by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Sri Lanka (CILT).

“Logistics forms the backbone of the economy and contributes to the quality of life by ensuring the movement of goods from productions sites through distribution channels to places of consumption,” said Jayasuriya, himself a fellow of the CILT.

“Sri Lanka’s geographical potential is not fully realised yet. Only drug smugglers are making full use of Sri Lanka’s location,” he said, referring to how traffickers use the island to tranship drugs by air and sea in the region.

The island’s transportation infrastructure has been modernised in recent years with investments in ports, airports and roads and railways.

“It is up to the industry to capitalise on infrastructure development to support growth,” Jayasuriya said.

“Our third international airport was just opened in Jaffna. It creates major opportunities to support the development of the north and increase the connectivity of the northern region to the rest of the world.

A new container terminal, the East Container Terminal, was also being built in the Colombo port, Colombo’s international airport is being expanded and the eastern port of Trincomalee also earmarked for modernisation, Jayasuriya said.

“These developments will create more opportunities for maritime traffic to call Sri Lanka and use our location.”

Developments on land such as the central expressway and the extension of the southern railway is improving connectivity, linking centres of production to places of consumption.

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Jayasuriya said Sri Lanka needs to transcend its limitations, such as small size.

“Sri Lanka should get out of the mindset that we are a small country. We may be comparatively small, but not in terms of intellect, competence and creativity.”

However, the country needs to ensure the benefits of such modernisation are distributed among all stakeholders in an equitable and justifiable manner, Jayasuriya said.
(COLOMBO, 25 October 2019)

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