The Sri Lanka Shippers' Council was established in March 1966 to protect and promote the interests of shippers. It was the first National Shippers' Council to be set up in Asia and was formed on a request made in 1965 by the local Committee of the Ceylon/Continental Conference, and a subsequent request made by the Director of Commerce in January 1966, to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The Sri Lanka Shippers' Council is the apex body that represents the interest of the shippers.

The objective of the Council is to provide organized machinery for shippers to express their views and negotiate on their behalf with shipping lines, particularly Shipping Conferences, on matters such as freight rates, quality of service, and tariff conditions.

Membership of the Council consists of Chambers of Commerce, Trade Associations & individual organisations. Currently, the Council represents a large percentage of the import/export trade in the country through its broad based representation and membership of these trade Associations and individual Companies

The Council allows individual companies as Associate Members so that companies in the export/import trade could have access to the Council's resources and expertise to resolve their shipping related problems.

The Sri Lanka Shippers' Council is headed by an elected Chairman and assisted by Vice-Chairman who is also elected by the constituent members.

From the inception the activities of the Council have been mainly focused on maintaining freight rates at reasonable levels, prevention of arbitrary surcharge and ad hoc freight rate increases, settlement of trade disputes related to shipping and creating awareness of shipping related issues. The Council continues its activities focusing on the same issues but with more active involvement in all shipping related matters.

The Sri Lanka Shippers' Council is also a founder member of the Association of Shippers' Councils of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (ASCOBIPS), founded in 1981 and the Asian Shippers' Council, founded in 2004.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce provides secretarial services to the Council and also acts as the Secretariat.


"To enhance the competitiveness of our members by abolishing hidden logistical costs."


We facilitate our customers to be more competitive in their Business Logistics; performance and cost, by the following;

  • Being the APEX Body, protect the interest of our customers and being a strong Advocate to the Government.
  • Ensuring cost effective strategies are developed and implemented in the logistics and value chain to make our members more competitive.
  • Facilitating greater efficiencies in logistics by reducing logistics barriers and simplifying trade.
  • Facilitating a level playing field by developing and promoting a code of conduct / ethics for our customers (members).

It is the Council's firm belief that in order to be competitive with the international market Sri Lankan shippers should;

  • Have a clear understanding when deciding on Carriers /Freight rates and be clear and free of any ambiguity with regard to the Freight rates and matters prevailing in the Market.
  • Have freight and associated costs stabled particularly for traditional exports such as tea, rubber, coconut products, which account for at least 70% of total export volume out of Sri Lanka. A major part of the turnover of these exports in foreign exchange is retained in the country and it is vital to protect these industries from international competition. Furthermore, these commodities are with relatively low margins and usually with forward trading patterns cannot absorb constant and continuous cost escalations.
  • Concurrently are the major exports such as garments are usually traded on FOB terms and the local manufacturers are constantly under pressure to provide low priced services, thus are unable to absorb any additional charges keeping in mind that almost all material for these industries are being imported. Therefore the constant increases in charges could seriously affect such industries as they are called upon to pay these charges both at the point of import of raw materials and export of finished products.
  • Have reasonable Service providers who would not take undue advantage from their captive customers.
  • Importers should check and negotiate destination charges at Colombo through their suppliers prior to imports, thereby eliminating ad hoc charges at the time of clearance.



Logistics is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient & effective flow of goods, & services etc, from point of origin to point of consumption with the purpose of conforming to customer requirements

Our objectives and key benefits to members

  • To provide for consultation/dialogue between shippers and Ship-owners/ Conference Lines/Shipping Agents/Airlines/Airline Agents, Sri Lanka Ports Authority/ Customs, Board of Investment (BOI) and other Border Agencies and State Institutions on matters of common interest.
  • To bring together the representatives of various shippers' associations, trade and industrial associations/organizations, for consideration and discussions of the problems affecting shippers in Sri Lanka;
  • To represent the views of shippers in order to establish free and fair trade practices that offers prompt reliable and efficient services through See, Air and Land transport services. Ensuring excellent facilities at Port, Airport and Customs Cross Border agencies.
  • The Council in principal will not come into agreement on behalf of its members in relation to freight contracts. (The Council will encourage confidential shipper/carrier freight negotiations) However, if the circumstances necessitate negotiation and entering into agreements with ship owners/Conference Lines/Shipping Agents/Airlines/Airline Agents on matters affecting shippers, which involve general principles and policies or on such other matters, if referred to the Council, upon receipt of such matters, the Council will act to safeguard the interest of the shipper/Country.
  • To undertake research/studies on problems affecting shippers in Sri Lanka.
  • To circulate information and statistical data and to publish newsletters, brochures etc., for the benefit of shippers.
  • To convene independently or jointly with other organizations, conferences, seminars or meetings in furtherance of the objectives of the Council;
  • To accept any grants, gifts or donations whether in cash or securities and any property either movable or immovable and/or give any grants etc., in the furtherance of the objectives of the Council;
  • To make Rules, Regulations or Bye-Laws for the conduct of the affairs of the Council and to add, to amend, vary or rescind them as from time to time;
  • In the interest of the shippers, the Council will wherever possible nominate its members to institutions where key functions in the shipping industry are taking place.
  • The Council will closely work with international Shippers' Councils in order to interact and pass on information that could be beneficial for shippers and the country.
  • To take all such other steps as may be necessary or conducive to the interests of the Councils' members.

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