Challenging year for freight forwarding industry
The year 2012 will be a challenging year for the freight forwarding
industry due to the turbulent global external environment.
The outlook for 2012 and the immediate future is not promising due to
the very uncertain global economic conditions, the Euro zone debt crisis
and the continued instability in the Middle East. Our exports are
dependent on these markets. We also expect reduced imports resulting
from the high depreciation of the Rupee in recent months and government
initiatives to discourage certain imports, said Sri Lanka Freight
Forwarders Association (SLFFA) Chairman Mohan S Mohanadas at the 31stAGM
of the Association held last week. Overall, last year has been a tough
one for the industry. Poor global economic conditions badly affected
volumes. Prices across the industry also came down with the intense
competition resulting in not so good results and limited growth to many,
During 2011, the total container handling at the Colombo Port
increased by just 3% to 4.3 million TEU ( 20 Ft equivalents), while
transshipment handling increased marginally. As for Air Freight we see
an increase in imports by about 4%, but a drop in exports by the same
Overall activities at the Airport have seen a marginal drop of less
of than 1% compared to the previous year. 2012 saw the freight
forwarding industry being regulated by the state with the licensing of
the forwarders under the Director General of Merchant Shipping.
Though the SLFFA always believed in self-regulations and has
affectively self-regulated itself over the years, this being a statutory
requirement, SLFFA complied with it and participated actively in
bringing about a set of regulations, that has value in terms of safe
guarding the industry as well its users.
The regulations classified the forwarders in two categories - Class A
being authorized to issue documents for the carriage of goods and Class
B restricted to perform services excluding the issue of documents of
carriage. It also made it a pre requisite for Class A forwarders to
possess a minimum liability insurance cover, trained staff including
those with knowledge of handling Dangerous Goods and Senior Managers
with industry experience.
The regulations also required the licensees to comply with the
Standard Trading Conditions of internationally accepted standards.
Though it took many years for the regulations to come into place,
from a SLFFA point of view, we are happy with the outcome. The SLFFA had
a good dialogue with the DGMS and I must thank all involved in the
Freight Forwarding is also a pioneering industry in this country
which has successfully gone beyond the shores of Sri Lanka. It is my
view and also that of many members in the industry, that opening up the
industry reciprocally, for foreign ownership will no doubt help Sri
Lanka in its march towards the hub status and free port and help more
Sri Lankan companies to venture out.
It can boost Free Trade Agreements and the Foreign Direct Investment.
It can also help the India/China; India/Pakistan trades via CMB to
It will also attract global logistic companies to look at Sri Lanka
as its Regional Headquarters, which can improve the standards in the
industry, eliminate inefficiencies and increase professionalism.
However before we embark on such an ambitious change in the foreign
investment policy in this sector, we must have in place the required
standards and regulatory framework.
As it is, we see a serious lack of proper monitoring and controls.
Going ahead with it, without proper controls can cause more damage to
the local entrepreneurs and human resources than the benefits it would
Our industry has an abundance of trained resources and experienced
personnel and hence, we as a responsible association will not subscribe
to anything that would affect it.
It is our view that any relaxation on investment policies in this
industry, and for that matter on any industry, must come with proper
checks and balances. If it is done so, we will always support it,
M.V. Asian Legend calls at MRMRP
The mega car carrier M.V. Asian Legend with an LOA of 199 metres,
belonged to Hyundai Glovis Co. Ltd; and Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd; as
the local agents, recently called at Magm Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa
Port (MRMRP) to transship 998 units that had been brought there at a
previous consignment destined to Algeria. She also brought two remote
controlled mega machinery units as a local consignment to be utilized at
the Mattala Airport Construction Project. Expressing views over the
success at the brand new port, Shone Pereira - the Operations Executive
of the Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd; stated that they were fully contended
over the smooth operations that were carried out at the port and the
efficiency expressed in result enabled the vessel to leave port with the
transshipment consignment with no delay at all.
|Cars parked at the port yard to be
transshipped as M.V.Asian Legend being berthed at MRMRP
|Dr.Priyath B.Wickrama - Chairman of
SLPA and Capt.Nihal Keppetipola - Managing Director of SLPA
inspecting the on going operations during the commencement
of Ro-Ro operations at MRMRP.
Platform Supply Vessel Greatship Rachna Launched
Greatship Rachna, the second vessel of a series of three Multipurpose
Platform Supply Vessels being built by Colombo Dockyard PLC (CDPLC) for
Greatship Global Offshore Services Pte Limited of Singapore, was
ceremonially launched at the auspicious time of 11.43 am recently.
The ceremonial Launching was performed by Owner's Representative V.
K. Chandrasekaran (General Manager - New Building Offshore Logistics),
in the presence of Jeewaka Gunadheera (Project Manager), Classification
Society Surveyors , Srinath Herat (Lloyds Register) and DVD Prasadrao
(Indian Register of Shipping).
Akihiko Nakauchi (Chairman, CDPLC), Mangala Yapa (MD/CEO, CDPLC), Y.
Kijima (Director), N. Nishida (Alternate Director/ Technical Advisor)
and a host of senior managers and the project management team led by
R.D.J. Sumanasiri (Special Projects Manager) participated at the event.
This Vessel designed by Seatech Solutions International (S) Pte Ltd
of Singapore shall be incorporated with an oil recovery arrangement and
shall have the capability to operate as an advanced PSV, as well as,
light construction support vessel, complying to SPS Code 2008, Clean
V.K. Chandrasekharan launching
“Greatship Rachna” in the presence of D.V. Abeysinghe,
Akihiko Nakauchi, Jeewaka Gunadheera, V.K. Chandrasekharan,
Y. Kijima and Mangala Yapa, were also present.
Now the Vessel will proceed to the next step in the shipbuilding
process which is, outfitting, in the areas of Deck, Accommodation,
Machinery, Piping, Electrical and Painting. Once these activities are
completed, the Vessel shall undergo a strict process of testing,
commissioning and sea trials. All these work is scheduled to be
completed and the vessel will be delivered during the 3rd quarter of
The main role of this Vessel is to support offshore oil and gas
fields around the clock and the Vessel will have an endurance of 35 days
and a cruising range of about 9,200 nautical miles. Designed for
operation worldwide and with an outstanding speed of 13.8 knots, the
Vessel can get to the desired location around the world as quickly as
possible, minimizing downtime. The Vessel shall be built for operation
in un-restricted waters.
Twin controllable pitch propellers, twin high lift rudders and
transverse bow and stern thrusters provide good maneuverability and
station keeping ability. The vessel shall be controlled from twin
maneuvering consoles fitted in the wheelhouse, forward and aft stations
with "joy-stick" controls. The Vessel shall also be equipped with
advanced dynamic positioning (DP AA) system which assures safe and more
efficient operations while working in close proximity to oil platforms/
rigs, even under the harsh weather conditions.
The vessel shall be equipped with a fully automated bridge layout
with alarm monitoring systems for periodic single man bridge operation,
and will be classed with "NAV1" notation. The vessel shall be fitted
with automated installations enabling machinery spaces to remain
periodically unattended in all sailing conditions including
maneuverings, qualifying it to be assigned with "UMS" notation.
The Vessel is also designed to have an enhanced accommodation area
for 50 persons. These accommodation areas shall be well-appointed and
aesthetically designed with special attention made to noise and
vibration levels and crew comfort onboard the vessel, thereby meeting
compliance to 'CAC3' notation of the classification society.
The Vessel shall also be classed with "In Water Survey" denoting the
vessel could be operated without being dry-docked for 5 years. Due to
this, surveying the underwater parts of the Vessel could be carried out
while the Vessel is still afloat instead of having to dry dock the
Vessel for examination of the under water areas, as is conventionally
done. This is a huge saving for the Owner. In addition, the Vessel shall
also be equipped with Tail Shaft monitoring system (SCM) which is a huge
advantage for the Owner in his quest for monitoring of temperature and
condition in the tail shafts.
In addition to the dry bulk carrying capability, the vessel shall
also be capable of carrying methanol, which is a low flash point liquid.
In order to prevent any fire risks, a special deck foam fire fighting
and prevention system has been installed for safety and shall be
designed, constructed and outfitted complying with the latest rules and
regulations applicable to a Vessel of this type and size. The plan
approval and survey during construction will be performed Lloyds
Register and the Indian Register of Shipping.