The theme of the Colombo International Maritime Conference 2015, "Maritime Education and Training" is very appropriate in present day context.
The South Asia Region is expected to play a vital role which will be very significant for the global trade in the near future. Due to the high consumer and manufacturing demand in the Region, shipping will be an important lifeline for global Trade. Hence the maritime nations across the world will have to play a dynamic role in providing modern and efficient services to transport cargo cost- effectively and at competitive rates across borders. In Asia, many countries have proved that having an efficient maritime industry could play an important role in prospering the economy of the country.
Since Sri Lanka is located geographically in an advantageous position for shipping, Sri Lankan ports should play a key role for the world's maritime trade. This would make a great contribution to the national economy while helping to uplift the income of the Sri Lankans involved in the Industry.
Our Government’s priority would be to introduce the necessary reforms and modernization to create a competitive environment in the maritime sector. Development of this sector can enhance the quality of life of the people involved in and pave the way for the country to move towards prosperity. The maritime sector could contribute significantly to create new employment opportunities for the youth of the country. The Government is also receptive in developing national policy framework that would encourage all stakeholders and investors. I hope this conference will set a platform for exchange ideas and provide a valuable opportunity to the regional nations to study and analyze the Indian Ocean Maritime Sector from all the aspects and learn more about maritime areas to lead the sector forward in the future.
While appreciating the efforts taken by the organizers for the smooth sailing of the Conference, I wish their efforts to position Sri Lanka in the global maritime map would be a great success.