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Global Shippers’ Forum Chief hails SL’s strong competition laws


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Global Shippers’ Forum Chairman Robert Ballantyne has praised Sri Lanka’s efforts to ensure strong competition laws to eradicate anti-competitive practices that have a negative impact on global trade.

Ballantyne, who is also the President of the Freight Management Association of Canada, shared his commendation when he spoke at the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council golden jubilee celebrations last week.

“We at the GSF believe in strong competition laws to eradicate anti-competitive practices that have a negative impact on global trade. We note that in many parts of the world, especially in Africa and Asia, the shipping industry has been engaging in anti-competitive activity.  We understand that Sri Lanka has brought in needed regulation that rebalances the bargaining power between shippers and carriers with the objective of achieving the best market-driven price and service. The GSF congratulates Sri Lanka for its leadership and for providing a good model for other countries to emulate,” the Global Shippers’ Forum Chief said.

GSF represents shippers from Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and the global secretariat is located in the United Kingdom. GSF was formally incorporated in 2011 and is the only officially recognised body by IMO and many other international agencies as representatives of the global shipping community.

Following are excerpts from Ballantyne’s speech. 

The SLSC has been a strong and influential partner with the Global Shippers’ Forum since the incorporation of the GSF in 2011 and I would also note that the SLSC formally joined the GSF in 2015.  We are pleased that Mr. Van Dort has agreed to stand for election as a Director of the GSF at the annual general meeting tomorrow.

Industry in Sri Lanka, both importers and exporters, showed great foresight in 1966 by responding to the recommendation of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) “that shippers’ councils should be established in order that they could negotiate collectively with shipping conferences”. It must be stated that the need identified in 1966 continues in 2016.  

Current issues in both international ocean shipping and air cargo demonstrate the continuing need for shipper organisations like SLSC and the GSF.  

We would also acknowledge the role of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in supporting the SLSC.  The first SLSC chairman, Mr. Mallory Wijesinghe, and his colleagues at the Chamber of Commerce laid down a firm foundation to represent the interests of shippers, and the occasion of the 50th anniversary is a testament to the success of the founders and those who have followed over the past half century.  

SLSC has also played a strong and influential role assisting shippers associations to organise in other Asian countries, and in 2004 SLSC was one of the founding members of the Asian Shippers’ Council and provided secretariat support to the ASC for a number of years. 

Sri Lanka is a nation which has much to be proud of.  The land is beautiful, the culture is rich, encompassing the Buddhist, Sinhalese and Tamil traditions, and it has a diverse economy. In addition to its world-famous tea industry, there has been diversification into food processing, textiles and garment making, telecommunications and a growing tourist industry.  

Democratic institutions were the first ones established in Asia with the Donoughmore Constitution of 1931 that gave the vote to Sri Lankan citizens.  

Global media have reported widely on the difficult period that Sri Lanka went through over a number of years and it is a tribute to the communities and to the Sri Lankan leadership that they have worked through those issues and are now working together to build a strong and prosperous country. 

We note the strong international outlook of the Sri Lankan industry and the important role that SLSC has played in enhancing the influence of the GSF. In this connection, I would like to acknowledge the work of the SLSC and in particular Rohan Masakorala, who represented GSF interests at the recent important International Chamber of Commerce revision of the 2010 Incoterms, covering trade rules outlining the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international sales contracts.

I would like to conclude with a couple of personal comments. My first visit to Sri Lanka was in the mid-1980s when my employer, the Canadian Pacific Railway, had a contract under the Colombo Plan to assist the Sri Lanka Railway develop effective locomotive maintenance procedures for Canadian built locomotives. As my wife and I flew into the airport, we were struck by the lush tropical beauty of Sri Lanka, a very welcome change from Canadian winters! During that trip, we had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Yala National Park. That was the first and only time that I have seen elephants in the wild, a truly magnificent sight.

Finally, I should mention that my national organisation, the Freight Management Association of Canada, is sharing a significant anniversary with the SLSC this year. 2016 marks our 100th anniversary.

On behalf of all members of the Global Shippers’ Forum, I congratulate the SLSC on its 50th anniversary and wish it and the companies that it represents continued success. 

 


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