The Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) announced that Ruwan Waidyaratne, Managing Director – Hayleys Advantis Limited, had been unanimously elected as its Chairman for 2017/18 at the Association’s 51stAnnual General Meeting (AGM) held on the 26thof July, 2017.Having served as the Vice Chairman of CASA from the year 2014/15, Ruwan will be taking over as Chairman from Capt. Ajith Peiris, Group Managing Director of Ceyline Agencies.
Commenting on his appointment, Ruwan said, “I am honoured to have been elected as the Chairman of CASA and would like to thank the members for placing their trust in me.With the support of my executive committee, I hope to continue the good work done by the past Chairmen and their respective Executive Committees in shaping the shipping industry in Sri Lanka.”
Ruwan is a Board Member of Hayleys PLC and holds responsibility for its Transportation and Logistics arm Hayleys Advantis. He has contributed to the shipping and logistics industry for over three decades and he is a former Chairman and member of the Advisory Council of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders Association (SLFFA). He has also served in related committees such as the Steering Committee on Ports, Shipping, Aviation and Logistics affiliated to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. With his election as the Chairman of CASA yesterday, he becomes the only person to have held the Chairmanship of both CASA and SLFFA, two of the leading industry bodies in the shipping and logistics sphere.
Addressing the Association’s members and other key stakeholders at a cocktail held later that day, Ruwan said, “We are all aware that the shipping industry plays an important role in our country’s economy. Statistics show that the transportation and logistics industry alone accounts for 12% of the country’s GDP. I firmly believe that the sector can make greater contributions to the national economy. We need to work together with all stakeholders, including the Government, on capitalizing on our strengths and emerging opportunities to realize our true potential.”
Speaking on one such area of growth, he said, “We can anticipate high demand for deep water terminals given the wave of new generation ships that are rolling out. Therefore, we appeal to the authorities to make use of this opportunity by operationalizing the East Container Terminal (ECT) as soon as possible. We need to act fast, before the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) reaches capacity which could lead to potential berthing congestion and loss of business.”
Welcoming the new Maritime and Logistics Policy, he extended the Association’s support to it and commended the Minister and his team who are working tirelessly to develop this legislation. “I sincerely hope that the opinions of our industry experts will be given due consideration, and we can collaborate our strengths and work together to come up with a pragmatic policy document that will help us achieve the country’s goal of becoming the maritime hub in the region,” he added.
Ruwan also touched on several issues plaguing the shipping industry in Sri Lanka today. He noted that the removal of the terminal handling charge four years ago had affected shipping agencies and said “at a time when the country is aspiring to be a regional Maritime Hub, Colombo cannot afford to be the only hub in the world that doesn’t permit lines to recover a local terminal handling charge.”
Speaking at the event the Chairman of SLPA Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake commented that there are many changes taking place in the shipping industry in Sri Lanka and that the industry needs to be prepared to embrace change. Acknowledging Ruwan’s thoughts on considering industry opinions for the Maritime and Logistics Policy he said “It is an inclusive approach that we have, and we are engaging all the stakeholders in the process”. He added,“We can see a Minister who is trying to walk the talk and who is trying to make things happen. Hambantota port is also becoming a reality and we have received cabinet approval to pursue the concessionary agreement on the Port with the establishment of two Sri Lankan companies. At the same time we have realized that we have an issue with the congestion of deep draft berths and the Minister has already given direction for the SLPA to launch the ECT as soon as possible.”
Formed back in 1944, the Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents, acts as a leading voice for the Shipping Industry of Sri Lanka. With its ever expanding membership CASA has become stronger over the years and plays a major role in shaping the Shipping and Logistics industry of the country. CASA’s importance has grown over the years, especially with the country moving towards establishing itself as a Maritime Hub in the region.