The Colombo International Maritime Conference-CIMC will open a new chapter for the maritime industry of Sri Lanka to transit to a new area of focus in developing the maritime economy beyond container transshipment via port of Colombo. A number of proposals from CIMC have been bought up to bring the Sri Lankan port among the world 20 best ports on transshipment of container operations said Chairman of the Organizing Committee Mr. Rohan Masakorala.
The port of Colombo as the leading transshipment hub in South Asia and ranked within top 30 in the world with world class terminals will have its own challenges to grow and provide more services to shipping lines and regional shippers to satisfy customer needs and to develop new businesses to keep Colombo as the preferred transshipment location in South Asia and support all related logistics services.
As per available data the maritime sector combined as at now contributes less than 2.5% to the national GDP, this is not a satisfactory number. The Minister of Ports and Shipping and the Ministry has set a target for Colombo to be within the top 20 container ports in the world by 2020.
Industry stakeholders will support this initiative but we think the government would want the maritime sector to contribute at least 6% of GDP by 2030. To do this we need to diversify. Attract FDI and create the environment for global capital and maritime services to have regional officers and service centers to be located in Sri Lanka. Hence we now need to look at other ports around the island and increase other maritime related activities to do the needed transformation.
For decades one of the most beautiful and natural harbors of the world Trincomalee had not been taken into consideration. Of course the military conflict was the number one issue. Now we have to make a focus as this port is ideally located to service Indian east coast, Bangladesh and Myanmar for many types of shipping services, including bulk and general cargo.
It is also ideal for ferry services and cruise and yacht tourism. Trincomalee can be the main service port for industrial and general cargo distribution, ship repair and ship building, dockyard services, ship management and to provide services for ships when they are idling.
The recent visit by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe to Singapore, seeking assistance to develop Trincomalee port, collected master plans in order to do this.