Checklist to logistics hub

Saturday, 29 October 2011 01:21 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SRI Lanka’s dream of becoming a logistics hub has many challenges to tackle before it can become a reality. Perhaps the most important consideration is that Sri Lanka needs to train logistical managers and other professionals who will manage not only the new harbours, highways and airports, but also think up different ways of doing transport and logistics.

The Charted Institute of Logistics and Transport during its forum in Colombo made the observation that without efficient logistic managers, an economy cannot develop. China has estimated that it will need five million logistical managers to maintain their growth and recently India came up with the number of 4.3 million. Surely Sri Lanka would not need that many, but it must nonetheless have a number.

To date no one has calculated it or considered how this need will be met. Logistical managers are not known to sit on the director board but this is slowly changing around the world as more and more companies realise that it is not enough to be more efficient to increase logistic connectivity; different thinking is also essential. Sri Lanka is clear on the fact that it wants big highways, more ports and airports, but how this investment will be managed so that it gives maximum return to the country has not been sufficiently explored.

Parallel to infrastructure development, the forum also discussed how the bureaucratic process can be minimised. It is attitude that decides how the future will be and the languorous and often inefficient Customs and clearance systems that Sri Lanka currently has needs to be developed in a big way if the customers are to be attracted in large numbers.

Corruption and wastage is another thing that the Government must consider. It cannot be stressed too many times that there must be a concentrated push to end bribery and corruption from the top rung of the Government. So far the efforts in that direction have been dismal and the Government needs to spend serious time on this matter.

Internal and external infrastructure development is important but the development must happen in a sustainable manner. Some of the most innovative companies around the world have realised that using infrastructure effectively can make the difference between survival and greatness, thus making the case clear for local companies to get their A game on. It is not only about the consumer and the company working out a win-win situation. It is about consumers, customers, logistics and environment creating a mutual victory.

Scarcity of resources demands that developing nations must depend on innovation to reach first world country standards. Home-grown, sustainable and innovative logistical solutions should be Sri Lanka’s priority in the next decade. Private and public partnerships are essential to this end and more and more companies need to take on the challenge of infrastructure development if Sri Lanka’s dream of becoming a logistics hub is to become reality.