The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka) organized the first German Sri Lankan Logistics Conference at the Kingsbury Hotel on 29 August in Colombo, on the occasion of the official visit of the German Vice-Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Steffen Bilger. AHK Sri Lanka had previously co-ordinated the visit of Sri Lankan Ports Minister Sagala Ratnayaka to Munich and Berlin to open the Sri Lankan Pavilion at the Transport Logistics Fair in the beginning of June this year.
About 200 decision makers of politics and business attended the first German Sri Lankan Logistics Conference to discuss opportunities for co-operation in developing Sri Lanka’s position as a logistic hub into a regional trading hub. The Chief Delegate of German Industry and Commerce stated in his opening speech: “There is profound industry-driven logistics know-how in Germany, which has been a key factor for Germany’s economic success in the world. Logistics have been in Germany for many years a top priority. In fact, Germany has been ranked for many years at rank number one in the world’s logistic performance index.”
The index, which includes the six main categories – logistic competence, tracking and tracing, timeliness, infrastructure, international shipments and customs – is yearly published by the World Bank and classifies 160 countries.
Germany, with a total export volume of over $1 trillion has become the world’s export champion, realising the highest trade surplus (227 billion euro) in the world for many years. The global competitiveness of industries and countries depend today more than ever on the capacity to transport goods Just-In-Time in a transparent and very cost-effective way, integrating intelligent service solutions according to the individual needs of the customer. Therefore, the highest performance standards of ports, terminal operators, shipping lines, freight forwarders, and warehouses are needed. Digitalisation, intelligent storage, tracing a tracking system are key factors of success.
Topics such as intelligent warehousing, E-Commerce, 4-PL, project logistics as well as the needed regulatory set up were at the centre of the discussions. Many of the world’s leading companies such as the world’s largest logistic company DHL, Hellmann, DB Schenker, Kuehne & Nagel, the world’s 5th largest shipping line Hapag Lloyd, Mercmarine, Hamburg Sued and others have been operating in Sri Lanka for decades. The potential that they and other new companies might increase their operations and investments with a more optimised regulatory frame was discussed.
As the official representative of German business in Sri Lanka, AHK Sri Lanka is strongly committed to fair business, level playing field, free trade and liberalisation. Until now, foreign companies operating in freight forwarding and shipping are restricted to minority shareholders with a maximum share of 40%. Companies that want to provide bonded warehousing services as multi-country consolidation need to have a minimum capital of $ 5 million. Therefore, many foreign investors have been very reluctant to make further or new investments. With the right regulatory frame, German companies may become strategic partners for achieve the target of become a leading hub in Asia, AHK Sri Lanka said.
-Pix by Lasantha Kumara