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Can country maintain transshipment hub status?

Jul '07
According to Anthony Bailey from Asian Development Bank, the lack of capacity and misaligned procedures, risks the transshipment status currently enjoyed by the Colombo port. He was speaking at the annual general meeting of Sri Lankan Freight Forwarders Association, last week.

Sri Lanka's geographic location in the Indian Ocean has been held in high esteem for centuries, yet it has failed to exploit this facet along with having admirable level of expertise in the field of freight forwarding.

The Colombo port is now faced with fierce competition from neighboring India, Singapore and Dubai. The planned south port should ease the situation yet Bailey cautions that the country risks losing gains because of inaction, lack of coordination and poor implementation of plans.

He went on to add, "Development plans are not integrated, there's no master plan to combine requirements." The fragmentation of service providers also results in limited potential to develop as a third party logistics hub.

"A few companies are doing good business in the domestic market but most lack the capability to go international because it would be a mega move."

The South Port of Colombo has been talked about for seven years "and we have still not got it," Bailey pointed out.
Implementation takes a long time in Sri Lanka compared with its competitors like Singapore and Dubai.

Shipping industry experts have said that if Colombo loses its hub status, there would be adverse effects on the port and exporters and the island's attractiveness for foreign investment.

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