Sri Lanka can be coverted into a regional maritime hub as an alternative to Singapore, said Rob Grool, President, Fleet Seaspan Ship Management Ltd, Canada, which owns over 60 large container ships.
In an exclusive interview with Daily News Business at the Seaspan Ship Management (Vancouver) Offers Forum concluded in Colombo last Saturday held in collaboration with their manning agents in Sri Lanka, Ceyline Shipping Ltd, Grool said that Colombo, Hambantota and Galle could play a major role towards achieving this target.
‚ÄúBoth these harbours lie on a global maritime route and should be promoted towards reaching this target,‚Äù he added. He said that bunkering, crew exchange, supplying of commodities, repairs and spares are the key areas that these three harbours should pay attention to,‚Äù he said.
He said that Sri Lanka which is enjoying a ‚Äòfanatic economy,‚Äô has rightly identified the maritime sector as a area to be nursed and investments made towards this would be very productive in the future.
He also sad that the Sri Lankan seafarers were highly respected for their skills and thats why they too employ many Sri Lankans. ‚ÄúWe have over a 550 Sri Lanka workforce and this was also a reason for us to host this event in Colombo,‚Äù he added.
‚ÄúOur company too is actively involved in training and we have five training ships in our fleet of 67.‚ÄùCommenting on the global shipping industry, he said that Somalia pirates and global recession still remains an issue. ‚Äú2013 looks a tough year for the industry as vessels are usually half loaded. However, Asia seems to be out of this situation. ‚Äù
‚ÄúAs for the Somalia pirates issue, today vessels have taken extra security precautions and though this is an additional investment, it‚Äôs proving to be productive.‚Äù
Commenting on the industry trends he said that the demand for cruise liners are picking up as more and more leisure travelers are seen taking cruises. Asked if they were planning to diversify to cater to this segment he answered in the negative.
The official theme of the forum was ‚ÄòChanging Environment: Leading through Times of Change, and Ceyline Shipping Group Director/ Managing Director Capt. Nalin Peiris said that the event was a success. Delegates from Sri Lanka, India and Canada participated.