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Dhashma Karunaratne re-elected as WiLAT Sri Lanka’s Chairperson for 2018

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Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) Sri Lanka reappointed its Chairperson, Dhashma Karunaratne, for the year 2018 at the fifth Annual General Meeting held on 27 April at the Auditorium of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, amidst a large gathering of the industry’s eminent personalities.

Thus, Karunaratne entered her second consecutive year as the Chairperson of WiLAT Sri Lanka and promised to execute WiLAT’s advocacy initiatives, working closely with its parent body, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and Global WiLAT Forum.

At present, she contributes towards the execution of the Commercial and Marketing Strategy of South Asia Gateway Terminals, of Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka and drives initiatives for business growth integrating contractual performance monitoring and compliance. During her early professional career, she has held diverse roles, including corporate finance, business strategy, management accounting and distributor and project management.

She is a Chartered Member of CILT and is currently serving as a Member of the CILT Sri Lanka Council. She has been an active Executive Committee member of WiLAT Sri Lanka since its inception, in 2013 and has been serving as the Vice Chairperson for Branding and Promotions till when she was first appointed as the Chairperson in 2017. She has successfully executed effective programs to promote and position Women in Logistics and Transport, as an integral part of the industry and the economy.

Dr. Namali Sirisoma, Anoma Ranasinghe and Gayathri Karunanayake were elected as the Vice Chairpersons, bringing in with them a wealth of experience and knowledge in the industry. 

The newly-appointed WiLAT Executive Committee recurrently consists of representatives from all sectors of the industry namely maritime, aviation, land transport and supply chain and young and fresh thinking students from both private and public educational institutions. The Executive Committee will continue to perform as a leading female advocacy group in Sri Lanka and in the region empowering women in Logistics and Transport.

Karunaratne, as the Chairperson of the previous tenure, thanked the outgoing Executive Committee for enabling her to bring WiLAT Sri Lanka under international spotlight through various value adding initiatives and achievements over the year. She also extended her gratitude to the Chairperson of CILT Sri Lanka and the Co-founder of WiLAT Sri Lanka, Gayani de Alwis, for her prodigious advocacy and the exclusive partner of WiLAT for the continuous and promising support.

Addressing as the new Chairperson, Karunaratne emphasised that women in Sri Lanka were still not performing and engaging adequately in the corporate world as repeatedly proven by statistics. Hence, she concluded by remarking that it was everyone’s duty to incorporate equal women participation to synergise the country’s performance while empowering them toachieve their full potential. 

2018 Executive Committee

The newly-appointed Executive Committee will commence its working period with the Strategic Planning Workshop to be held soon after to discuss priorities and align its timeline activities to Global CILT strategic pillars of growth, capability and governance. 

WiLAT is the women’s forum of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and is part of an ever expanding global network. WiLAT is considered as a live wire of the Institute. The main objective of WiLAT is to promote and encourage the art and science of logistics and transport among women. 

Currently, WiLAT is present in 18 countries with over 1,800 members in the global network which is expanding rapidly. WiLAT Sri Lanka is one of the five pioneering fora of the global network and was established on 21 March 2013. WiLAT membership is open to all women working in public and private sector and in academia in the areas of logistics, transport, supply chain and supporting functions in organisations. 

WiLAT Sri Lanka forum is expected to provide a platform for women engaged in the industry to maximise their true potential both professionally and personally. WiLAT Sri Lanka, since its formation in 2013, has played an active role in promoting gender diversity in the logistics and transport sector through value enhancing activities. 

Blockchain and logistics, transport sector

Nations Trust Bank Chief Operating Officer and Senior Executive Vice President Thilak Piyadigama delivered a keynote on the theme ‘Blockchain and its Impact to Logistics and Transport’ at the WiLAT AGM.

He gave a brief introduction to the trending subject blockchain and how it could be used in several sectors of the industry and especially in providing logistics needs for under privileged communities in several parts of the world more conveniently. 

He emphasised on the immense cost advantage that this technology brings when linked with other improvements as crypto currency and internet of things. Also, during the Q&A session he commented that for Sri Lanka it remains a substantial challenge in adapting to these technologies in terms of material development as well as building trust and confidence among users. Nevertheless, once access is provided and challenges are overcome, creative and innovative corporates and individuals can certainly utilise it to enhance Sri Lanka’s productivity, he added.

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