The Government of Sri Lanka for the very first time has declared a ‘Maritime Week’ in Sri Lanka from 21 to 27 September in line with World Maritime Day which falls on 24 September which will be observed by the International Maritime Organisation and United Nations worldwide.
Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga, through a memorandum submitted to the cabinet dated 27 May, sought the cabinet approval and with the observations of Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayke, the maritime week was declared.
The industry sources said that they were very happy that the Government had taken this step, which will highlight the country potential. Most maritime nations take this initiative to highlight and showcase the importance of the sector as the maritime industry helps economies to uplift standards of living when proper policy directions are set afloat.
Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Malaysia are a few countries in the region that have excelled in this sector.
During this first maritime week the industry of Sri Lanka will be hosting the first ever international conference under the theme Colombo International Maritime Conference (CIMC2015) to showcase Sri Lanka as an emerging centre in South Asia for shipping and logistics. The conference will bring in 30 international speakers from USA, Europe, China, Far East and the Indian subcontinent to discuss the global and the regional developments/trends and opportunities as well as to discuss the role that Sri Lanka can play in emerging South Asia.
The Government across the board has endorsed the conference and many international organisations and trade chambers too have given the fullest backing to the trade to organise the event.
Experts believe that Sri Lanka has a long way to go forward, from its current transhipment hub position to be a maritime and a logistics hub. Presence of ship financing, ship registering, maritime legal framework including arbitration, expanding cruise/bulk/RoRo/ship/bunker owner presence, education, etc are areas that need expansion and reforms. These observations were recently made by Dr. Razeen Sally the world renowned LSE economist who is attached to the National University of Singapore (NUS) who is also designated to be the Chairman of Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Sri Lanka.
The Colombo International Maritime Conference will be held from 24-26 September. In addition the India/Sri Lanka maritime forum will be held on 24 September with the assistance of the Indian High Commission. Many Indian speakers from multiple sectors of shipping/ports are expected to be in Colombo for the forum and the conference.
The Lalith Athulathmudali Memorial Cup and Trophy in memory of the late Minister too will coincide with the maritime week activity.
This corporate quiz on shipping and trade which is branded as TOC (Terminal Operators’ Cup) will be held on 23 September at the Sri Lanka Foundation with the participation of about 40 teams from the industry and public sector. Terminal operators of SLPA have been partners of this event.
In addition the Ministry of Ports and Shipping will have more national events to promote the sectors amongst school leavers and the younger generation. This year the World Maritime Day announced by the IMO has focused on the theme ‘education and training’.
The Secretary General of IMO has specifically issued a special statement supporting the Government of Sri Lanka and the CIMC2015. In addition the Secretary General of the Commonwealth too has extended his support to the Government with the declaration of the maritime week and the CIMC.
To coincide with all of this and to commemorate World Maritime Day, the Ministry of Posts has decided to issue a revenue stamp which will be issued on 24 September at the launch of CIMC2015. More information on the international conference could be found on www.cimc2015.com.