The three-day Colombo International Maritime Conference – CIMC is now emerging as the biggest diversified maritime conference in South Asia. Given the country location and a reform and development agenda drawn by the Government of Sri Lanka to develop Colombo, Hambantota and Trincomalee to transform Sri Lanka from a transshipment port to a maritime nation is creating greater interest from many international investors.

Numerous maritime and logistics related industry companies are keen to be present in Sri Lanka as it is a low cost and an efficient transshipment hub that has a geographic advantage for ship traffic and connectivity to global ports and destinations. Also it is the vision of the Government to attract new maritime related services and to encourage international leading maritime nations and their companies to be positioned in Sri Lanka to provide services and technology beyond transshipment.

The CIMC was launched in 2015 with cabinet approval to launch the Sri Lanka Maritime Week to promote the country as a new emerging destination for port and related industry developments and to attract FDI in the respective sectors.

Capt. Ajith Pieris, Chairman of the Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents better known as CASA said that CASA celebrating 50 years of service to the shipping community in Sri Lanka in 2016 has joined CIMC as its official local partner to promote the country and to develop the maritime industry over the coming years. CASA was formed as an association in 1966 comprising 134 Licensed Ships’ Agents, representing all International Shipping Lines of repute who use the Port of Colombo.

CIMC is chaired by Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunaga, the Patron is the speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya who has himself a background in trade and shipping. Rohan Masakoala the CEO of the Shippers’ Academy Colombo is the founder of CIMC and the organising committee chairman and Ruwan Waidyaratne Managing Director of Hayley Adavantis is the CIMC organising committee co-chair is joined by a team of 40 industry academics and professionals uniting all sectors in shipping to organise this national conference. All chambers and associations from 2015 have been supporting this PPP effort to develop the maritime economy of the country with a single voice.

“CASA joining as our official partner will strengthen CIMC in the coming years as the industry needs to promote the sector globally as Sri Lanka has been lacking behind our marketing efforts. Last year we saw the interest of international organisations and participants as we had over 80 foreign delegates and over 400 present at the conference in Colombo. We have fantastic ports around the island, and we need to develop each and every port around the island to capture multiple business opportunities in the maritime economy. As a team we will support the Government to attract FDI and we hope the Government too will support us in our efforts by implementing what is required and promised,” said Rohan Masakorala

Waidyaratne the Vice Chairman of CASA and core chair of CIMC said that their members have been contributing to the economy in many ways and has created jobs and value added services across the logistics industry. “As an emerging middle income nation can create new employment opportunities and the maritime sector combined with the logistics services can create many new avenues as envisaged by the Government. We as the representatives of all leading global shipping lines and as the industry voice are keen to promote the country and it is our view that CIMC was a great initiative and we are willing to partner them to take it forward,” he said.