In a move to converge the shipping trade, academia and commerce of the country, a school of business for global commerce and logistics aptly named the Shippers’ Academy Colombo was launched yesterday.
By Cassandra Mascarenhas
The first of its kind in the region, the institution was launched in collaboration with the Singapore Shippers’ Academy which is the first shipper-centric training establishment in the world.
Present at this momentous occasion was the Minister of Water Supply and Drainage, Dinesh Gunewardena; Chairman of the Shippers’ Academies of both Singapore and Sri Lanka and the man behind this innovative idea, John Lu; CEO of the Shippers’ Academy Colombo, Rohan Masakorala; Former Chairman of Hayleys, Rajan Yatawara and many other distinguished personalities from the shipping industry and the Government.
“The launch of the academy is in line with the Government’s vision to make Sri Lanka a knowledge based hub which encompasses aviation and shipping along with finance and energy. As the infrastructure in the country is rapidly developing, we at the Shippers’ Academy believe that it is a priority that we enhance the capacity and skills of the workforce of the trading community on global commerce and logistics to facilitate human resource advancement,” declared the CEO of the Shippers’ Academy Colombo, Rohan Masakorala.
Keeping in line with this vision, the Colombo academy will aim to increase productivity of companies by 15 per cent and delivery speeds by 20 per cent by bringing in the necessary knowledge through modern training techniques and by training personnel involved in both the supply chain as well as the value chain.
Speaking about the industry today, Masakorala went on to say that the demands from both buyers and consumers are now far more sophisticated. Getting them speedily, efficiently and cost effectively is the challenge amongst competing countries in global trade. Therefore it is vital that the components of the global supply chain collaborate to reduce cost eliminating inefficiencies in order to meet the full potential of the global economy and support smoother trade flows.
“We see very high potential in how this country can develop from this point on. I can see how Singapore has achieved economic success in the past 50 years. There is a need for us to work together. The world today is globalised, progress is very fast and no one can remain stagnant. You too are in a very difficult position but jumpstarting education is one sure way of succeeding in the future,” said the Chairman of both the Colombo and Singapore academies, John Lu.
The Singapore academy was launched last march to breach the gap of education for shippers as there was previously no proper integrated kind of education for shippers. Speaking about the Singapore port which has become very significant over the past several years and was the number one container port in the world for seven, eight years but lost it to Shanghai this year, Lu predicted the decline of Singapore’s position over the years.
Lu however further assured that whatever the Singapore Academy could provide will be channelled through the Shippers’ Academy Colombo in order to benefit the community in this industry and said that the academy will be able to serve the country well.
The opportunity available in the country today cannot be exploited without substantial human resources. Sri Lanka has high literacy rates and a trainable workforce. Given Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning and with the boost given by the Colombo port, shipping activity in the country is on the increase. To meet the growing challenges and to make use of the opportunities in this sector developing appropriate human resources is vital.
“It is the realisation of the need for such skills that countries have taken initiatives to develop them as they have realised that the modern production techniques with the splicing of the value addition, chain require supply chain management and this is an essential aspect of international trade today. This supply chain management will have spillover impact in areas such as shipping in fact the modern world shippers are considered cargo owners in the global supply chain,” said Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, Dr. Saman Kelegama while addressing the gathering at the launch.
He added that as a result of this, shippers must have the skills to cope with contemporary changes. It is such realisations that led to the initiation of the academy in Singapore which offers courses ranging from marine insurance and security container shipping, international trade procedures and customs requirements, effective supply chain management etc., all of which will now be available at the Colombo Shippers’ Academy.