- State Minister Jayantha Samaraweera sets ambitious target of $ 100 m for this year
- Commends industry for outstanding performance with minimal support from Govt.
- On industry request, a regulatory body will be established by end-2022
- New shipyard will be built in Trincomalee Port to further support industry
- Industry suggests more water transport methods, leisure activities to promote SL as a top marine vessel manufacturer
Boat and ship building industry has recorded a 90% increase in its export earnings to $ 82.64 million last year, despite COVID-pandemic challenges.
“With the limited support the State extended, the boat and ship industry has shown its knowledge, expertise, competitiveness, and resilience last year. We are ambitious to reach a $ 100 million export target for this year,” Warehouse Facilities, Container Yards, Port Supply Facilities, and Boats and Shipping Industry Development State Minister Jayantha Samaraweera told journalists.
He said boat and ship building could become a strong export industry in Sri Lanka and stated his desire to position the country as a top manufacturer of boats, yachts and ships.
“The industry has already achieved so much with minimal support extended to it by the Government. They won international bids to build boats and vessels worth. It signifies the potential, quality and competitiveness of this industry. Our intention is to further facilitate and extend State support for industry to reach its true potential. I thank all the workers and companies involved in this sector for their commitment to develop our manufacturing and exports,” the State Minister added.
As per Samaraweera, the industry comprises 10 private companies and vessel engineering giant – Colombo Dockyard PLC.
Following requests made by industry stakeholders, Samaraweera said a regulatory authority would be established by the end of this year, where initial steps have already been taken.
“The industry had zero attention or support from successive governments. Recognising the importance and potential of the boat and ship building industry, for the first time in our history President Gotabaya Rajapaksa established this State Ministry in 2019. Prior to that only the Export Development Board (EDB) was looking after the industry. The stakeholders had to go from pillar to post to get approval for their projects. The one-stop-shop (OSS) for the industry was their request, which will come into effect by the end of this year,” he said.
The State Minister also said that steps had been taken to build a shipyard in Trincomalee port to further expand the facilities available for the sector. The initiative is also supported by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and Colombo Dockyard.
“Despite having 22 harbours around the country, the stakeholders had to undergo so much of red tape to put those vessels in the waters. The cost incurred for that was more expensive than building one,” he pointed out.
In addition, the State Ministry, in collaboration with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, conducts continuous discussion with foreign envoys to create awareness on the manufacturing potential and to expand the export markets.
The stakeholders said these were all collective efforts and achievements of the industry and appreciated the support extended by the State Ministry to boost exports.
They also pointed out that more awareness on water transport and increased leisure activities would be helpful in garnering the attention of international markets to put Sri Lanka in the spotlight as a top-class marine vessel manufacturer.