Govt. regulations seen as hindering SL from becoming ship-building hub
Posted on August 2nd, 2018

By Hiran H.Senewiratne Courtesy The Island

Sri Lanka will lose the chance of becoming a ship-building hub  in the region due to the  government’s regulations pertaining to the ship-building industry  and the country’s tax structure. If the government supports this sector, the country could earn a large sum of foreign exchange, Executive Vice President, Walkers CML Group,  Dr. Sarath Obeysekera said.

”  Sri Lanka has the potential to become a small and medium size ship/vessel manufacturing hub in the region but unfortunately certain government rules and regulations and the tax structure negatively impact the industry, Dr Obeysekera told The Island Financial Review. The company is known as  Walkers Colombo Shipyard (Pvt) Limited , a subsidiary of MTD Walkers PLC and  is a fully equipped shipyard with advanced facilities to facilitate vessel repairs, ship-building and other marine engineering capabilities. This  is the country’s second ship-building company, which is 100 percent Sri Lankan owned.

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Ship-building in progress

He said that at present they are manufacturing 100 ton  and 300 ton landing craft for the Maldives, which are valued at US $ one million. ‘Since they have all the facilities, including the technology, they are looking at getting orders from other counties as well, he said.

Dr Obeysekera said that the government is not giving proper support for this industry to grow as it has enormous potential to attract foreign orders into the country. ” Unfortunately, the  Sri Lanka Ports Authority, most of the time, in calling for tenders gives preference to foreign companies, he said.

“This is a multi-billion dollar business but needs to get duty free facilities  and a simplified regulatory framework to boost the boat/ship building industry as a life style development or leisure sector industry, he explained.

The CEO also said that in Sri Lanka there are 20 fisheries harbors within the country , which could be developed as marinas targeting  tourism sector.

He also said that the national export strategy 2018 of the government has identified the vessel and leisure craft manufacturing sector as a potential export sector in the country. ‘This is an excellent move by the government, he added.

‘Walkers will give special concessionary rates for multi-day fishing boat owners for docking and undocking since we need to promote the fisheries industry of the country , provide high standard reliable repair services for them, that could ultimately cause to uplift the quality of fish which goes to the local and foreign market, Dr Obeysekera added.

‘Further, we build fibre glass boats at the Galle boatyard and we repair boats in Codbay in trincomalee using our boat lift, he said.

The CEO added: ‘Sri Lankans have a habit of buying SUV cars rather than buy pleasure craft, so we invite businessmen, hotel owners and the young to buy their own pleasure craft/yacht and enjoy the inland and offshore cruises.  We will provide a 24 hour security service and berthing facility for their yachts at Mutwal harbour.’

‘At present, the Walkers Shipyard is located at the Mutwal fisheries harbour having the capacity to offer floating repair for vessels up to 80 m in length, dry berth repair services for vessel up to 65 m in length.

‘The company’s shipping team builds a wide range of ships and vessels of high quality, where they meet the highest level of construction and safety standards with Korean technology and know how.’

2 Responses to “Govt. regulations seen as hindering SL from becoming ship-building hub”

  1. aloy Says:

    Dr. Sarath,

    ‘The company’s shipping team builds a wide range of ships and vessels of high quality, where they meet the highest level of construction and safety standards with Korean technology and know how.’

    I am proud as a Sri Lankan to hear about this. However I am not qualified to comment on this field.

    I take this opportunity to comment about a negative campaign being carried out by a certain media about Walkers MTD. I believe it is a Sri Lankan entity. Therefore no one should be jealous if it gets a big loan from a bank for its operations connected with a certain road project. Perhaps GOSL should have organized the loan from another bank where the director does not have a conflict of interest. We need companies like Walkers to grow big and take jobs overseas as well. Since they do not have big money like LTTE fronts that are operating in SL, GOSL should help them in every way possible.

  2. Nimal Says:

    Government regulations at all levels are hindering any kind of development. We are a very corrupt country.

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