Implementation of key tasks under National Export Strategy | Daily News

Implementation of key tasks under National Export Strategy

Sri Lanka is making a renewed attempt to leverage its geographic advantage in the East-West shipping route, this time as a boat builder and marine tourism destination under the National Export Strategy. The five-year plan formally launched in July 2018, identifies boat building and its related services as one of the five key industries to expand Sri Lanka’s export basket and increase export earnings to US$ 28 billion by 2022.

Boat & ship building is a leading industry and an emerging export sector, offering a wide variety of products and services to international markets. This industry is a multi-billion rupee industry and Sri Lanka should take full use of this emerging trend before losing the competitive advantage to other countries.

A section of the participants

Sri Lanka has the capacity to build and operate boats for yacht chartering and nautical activities. Further, foreign yachts could come to Sri Lankan water and anchor and spend a few days in the country as we have attractive on shore activities such as Whale/Dolphin watching, scuba diving, leisure fishing, snorkeling, windsurfing, kite surfing and many more around the country throughout the year.

In order to capitalize on the capabilities of the sector, it is important to create an enabling environment for the sector.

One of the main pre-requisites for the development of the sector is to have a proper regulatory framework for the entire value chain and infrastructure facilities, such as berthing (anchorages/marinas), launching and testing (slipways/launching pads) and dock facilities for repairing purposes.

Further, there is no proper mechanism to monitor the leisure craft operations in the country and to register visiting yachts to the country. Lack of such facilities are the main hurdles for development of this sector.

Having identified the importance of development of this future visionary sector for the economic development of the country, the Government allocated funds in the National Budget 2018 to develop infrastructure facilities and a regulatory framework for the sector.

EDB and Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade has initiated the development of infrastructure facilities and identified suitable lands in Kapparathota (Weligama) to facilitate existing manufacturers to expand their production processes and for berthing, launching and testing (slipways/launching pads). The feasibility of constructing a breakwater in Kapparathota (Weligama), is being studied at present.

Keeping in line with the Budget proposal 2018, EDB, the Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade, Ministry of Ports & Shipping, Merchant Shipping Secretariat and Industry, commenced work on the development of the Regulatory Framework for the Boat Building Industry by obtaining the services of M/S Lloyds Register Marine, covering the entire value chain of the industry.

The Consultant had a series of meetings with relevant government and private sector industry stakeholders to obtain their views on the development of the regulatory framework before drafting the regulatory framework. Also keeping in line with the comprehensive Terms of Reference (TOR), all relevant regulations, legislations in force were examined carefully.

The first draft of the regulatory framework complied by the consultant and a workshop, was held on June 21, 2019, at the EDB with the participation of relevant Government and private sector stakeholders, including the Ministry of Ports & Shipping, Ministry of Industry & Commerce, Merchant Shipping Secretariat, Ministry of Fisheries, boat manufacturers, boat operators etc., to further improve and finalize the draft by obtaining inputs from relevant stakeholders.

The day long workshop included a presentation of the draft regulatory framework to cover Registration, Regulation and Technical guidelines for all boat categories manufactured in Sri Lanka (other than fishing boat category), Leisure craft operations in the country and for visiting yachts/crafts to Sri Lanka and imports of boats to Sri Lanka.

Draft regulatory framework would be revisited and updated with the inputs of the relevant stakeholders before finalizing. Once the regulatory framework is in place, it would ensure the smooth operation of boat building and boating industry, fulfilling an important pre-requisites for development of the industry.

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