The Maritime Industry is getting ready for a week of activity with the declaration of the first ever maritime week in Sri Lanka by the government from September 21 to 27, 2015 – in line with the World Maritime Day UN observance on September 24 – with the main focus on the Colombo International Maritime Conference 2015 (CIMC2015) to be held from September 24 to 26, the mega event with the participation of 30 international speakers.
“The CIMC is the ideal platform to learn about the developments and opportunities in the maritime sectors of the Indian Subcontinent (ISC) and the global outlook for the industry,” said Rohan Masakorala, Event Chairman of the Maritime Conference on Friday.
According to veterans in the industry, maritime sector is considered as one of the key drivers for economic development in Sri Lanka which is yet to harness its full potential.
The country is located strategically to the main East West shipping routes, connecting South Asia with rest of the world. It is also adjacent to the giant and promising market of India, which is showing resilience even with the global economy slowing down.
Many are of the view that the economic growth of India, which accounts for nearly 80% of the Indian subcontinent GDP, will help its neighbours to prosper as well.
Sri Lanka has the potential and is considered to be the next Singapore, or Dubai for the region, if the sector is given due focus with policy reforms.
Since opening up the economy in 1977 and promoting containerisation by President J. R. Jayawardena government led by Minister Lalith Athulathmudali, and subsequent governments investing in the sector, the country has emerged as the main transshipment hub for South Asia for the last three decades. It’s now evolved to be a modern deep draught port with state-of-the-art equipment that is capable of handling the largest ships in the world.
Today out of its 4.2 million transshipment volumes, close to 40% is Indian transshipment connecting to multiple ports in India.
Development of trade and transport will be important to both India and Sri Lanka to expand economic growth and access global markets with faster connectivity. The geography of the two countries have many synergies to work closely to improve and develop, trade, logistics and distribution services linking through the major shipping lanes.
No doubt India is rising with the latest estimates predicting it may even be the third largest economy within the next decade. As a result the region is expected to have fast growth in consumer markets as the middle income group is expanding which would demand more consumer goods and increased demand for raw material for manufacturing, creating greater demand for shipping and logistics services. Increased maritime co-corporation would further help strengthen Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement as well.
Details of the Colombo International Maritime Conference can be found on www.cimc2015.com or on hotline 0773820703 for local registration.