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ITC to host major public-private dialogue on maritime, logistics and transport reform

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A public-private dialogue (PPD) will take place tomorrow to discuss reforms of the maritime, logistics and transport sector, with the participation of key public and private sector stakeholders. This event will take place at the Galle Face Hotel and is being organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance. This PPD takes place within the framework of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance Project funded by the European Union. 

A key objective of the Government’s Vision 2025 is to develop Sri Lanka as a maritime trading hub in the Indian Ocean by fully leveraging its favourable geographical positioning. Together with Vision 2025 and the launch of the National Export Strategy (NES), there is now an emphasis on export-led growth created through trade support functions such as shipping and logistics.

The Government of Sri Lanka, in its budget speech for 2018, announced that the current legal framework for shipping and logistics would be revised to ensure that the logistics sector is advanced to become a key driver of growth.  Many regulatory frameworks, including those related to merchant shipping, customs, finance, and transportation, are due to be updated. 

Further, a number of tools are set to be institutionalised to improve public-private coordination, develop marketing campaigns to stimulate growth of the logistics sector (including exports), attract skilled labour to the sector, improve linkages with other sectors of the economy, and to ensure long-term expansion and sustainability of the sector.

Consultations that took place as part of the NES highlight that only limited interactions between stakeholders take place. As a result, greater coordination needs to be facilitated between stakeholders to ensure that the needs of the logistics sector are met. 

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said: “Sri Lanka is on the cusp of a major developmental drive that will establish its position as a vital trade hub in the Indian Ocean region. The reform of the logistics sector as a key driver is highly instrumental for this”.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ambassador of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Tung-Lai Margue said: “Sri Lanka is well-positioned to become a regional hub, and this event will help to identify the reforms required for Sri Lanka to achieve this goal, also for trade in Europe”.

This PPD is organised to provide a platform for all stakeholders, including the private sector, to share their views and concerns in order to overcome impediments to transparency, and accommodate greater inclusion of stakeholders in decision-making in maritime, logistics and transport reform. 

The PPD will deliberate upon the potential impact of liberalisation in the shipping and logistics sector and bring in more visibility and transparency to the interested parties of the Government agenda.

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