Gayani de Alwis elected CILT Sri Lanka Chairperson

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Sri Lanka held its 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 28 March, at the Victorian Hall of The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo, attended by an august gathering of members. 

Gayani De Alwis was elected uncontested as the 21st Chairperson of CILT Sri Lanka. It is the second time that CILT Sri Lanka elected a female Chairperson in 27 years. The three Vice Chairpersons elected were Dr. Namali Sirisoma, Channaka De Alwis and Gihan Jayasinghe. Dr. Lalith Edirisinghe and Upali Gunawardena were elected as the Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

De Alwis is an experienced supply chain professional, with over two decades of experience in the profession, locally and overseas. She was the former Director of Customer Service of Unilever Sri Lanka.  She was the founding Chairperson of Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) Sri Lanka and had been an active Chartered member of CILT Sri Lanka Council since 2011. The AGM also featured strong representation from the women’s forum of CILT Sri Lanka, WiLAT Sri Lanka, and the Young Professionals’ Forum (YPF) Sri Lanka. 

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) is a leading global professional body associated with the logistics, transport and supply chain industry. The Institute holds unparalleled international recognition, and works towards achieving its objectives of promoting and encouraging the art and science of logistics and transport through its membership and its educational qualifications. With a global membership of over 34,000 in 34 countries across the globe, CILT provides a professional identity to those in the ever-expanding logistics and transport sector. It is a strong, active and unified professional association, that is able to speak with authority on strategic issues affecting businesses and people in the industry, and support their careers.

Below are extracts from the newly elected Chairperson’s inaugural address, themed ‘Stronger Together’:

“We are the only chartered professional body in the country for professionals engaged in logistics, transport and supply chain. Our aim is to develop the science and art of logistics and transport. CILT was setup in 1919 in the UK, and we are celebrating our 100 years of existence next year. Over the years, CILT has been led by 20 exemplary chairpersons, bringing CILT to what it is today. Sri Lanka has been very progressive towards gender diversity, with Ms. Mandri Sahabandu, our first female Chairperson, appointed in 1991, long before CILT international appointed Dr Dorothy Chan in 2013.

“As you all know, we at CILT have three main objectives: to ensure an adequate supply of qualified personnel; to keep qualified individuals up to date throughout their professional working lives; and to play an active and influential part in shaping transport policies for the future.

“Whatever CILT Sri Lanka engages in, these three objectives should be uppermost in our mind.

“Today in Sri Lanka there is much interest in logistics, transport and supply chain as a discipline. We have seen many universities and educational institutes venturing into this space, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We have seen international university study programs launched in Sri Lanka. This, in fact, is an opportunity for us to develop a continuous pipeline of student and professional members by engaging them with CILT.  

“Another priority therefore is for CILT to continue to accredit more educational service providers and courses run by universities, and position CILT qualification and accreditation as a preferred choice for the industry. CILT will continue to assure the quality of these programs by developing course curriculum and through the quality assurance process. The Advanced Certificate program, which CILT started, will be concluded in September this year with the batch completing the program. CILT will also develop tailor-made programs for companies and for the public through experts from our membership. So we will be reaching out to the membership in due course to enroll them in our faculty.

“The logistics and transport landscape has changed significantly in our country and there are many national programs that will rely on logistics, transport and supply chain expertise. As the premier chartered professional body in this discipline, there is so much on offer and so much to contribute. This is an understanding that all of us should have in ensuring delivery of our third objective; policy advocacy.

“We must be neutral and play an active role in offering our advice to the Government on national issues of relevance to logistics and transport. Already, our membership is engaged in this regard, and we need to continue this to support the Government in their endeavor to make Sri Lanka a logistics hub. National policy for shipping and maritime sector development, national civil aviation policy development, bus priority lane, Megapolis, evaluation committee on the issue of new route permits through tender, CCC National Agenda Committee on L&T etc., are some of the areas our members have engaged with.

“Our two dynamic groups in our fold – YPF and WiLAT – are assets to CILT. These two groups should be nurtured and guided to make CILT a vibrant place. YPF, which was formed in 2012, has come a long way in the past 6 years and they are a treat to watch. Their achievements have been recognised globally by CILT by making our YPF Chair an YPF ambassador, for the second time. Two areas I would like YPF to work on this year is to engage more working young professionals, bringing them to your fold and to encourage student membership upgrade to MILT. WiLAT, too, have made great strides in the past 5 years, and their flagship “Ignite” mentoring program has received global accolades, and WiLAT SL is leading this initiative globally now. I extend my fullest support to YPF and WiLAT, and look forward to your contribution with more value-adding signature programs for young professionals and women in our industry.

“I will also focus on strengthening our institution by reincorporating CILT, redrafting the constitution to completion, streamlining the secretariat functions for effective service delivery. We need to prioritise these, as it takes time for implementation.

“I take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Capt. Lasitha Cumaratunga, for his productive two-year tenure, and giving me the opportunity to work with him as a council member and a Vice Chair contributing to the agenda. Last but not the least, all past and present council members, you members who are present here today, for your continued support to take CILT and our industry forward for the betterment of our country. Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.

“Together we can achieve more. Thank you! We are stronger