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ASC annual meeting huge boost to the country

Sanjeevi Jayasuriya

The Asian Shippers’ Council will be a platform for the members to work in close corporation and to share the developments of the shipping industry in a positive environment. The annual meeting enabled the participating countries to take forward the deliberations to the Global Shippers’ Forum to be held in September in London, Convener Asian Shippers’ Council (ASC) Rohan Masakolara said.

The fifth annual meeting of the Asian Shippers’ Council concluded on Saturday in Colombo.

“The annual meeting was a huge boost to the country as this was the first ever international meeting after eradicating terrorism. It also provided an opportunity to showcase and position the country on the global map. Not only the country’s shipping industry, but the country as a whole will benefit from this international meeting,” he said.

“We have an important announcement to make. It will be a remarkable achievement and will be known to the public early next week,” he said.

The ACP Chairman John Lu said that Sri Lanka could realize its full potential as a key international gateway for shipping. With the stability due to peace, business will grow and tourism will once again flourish. The country is well-poised to be a commercial hub in the region.

Highlighting the need for maritime regulatory reforms similar to those in Europe and America, he said that the Asian Shippers will be at a disadvantage, losing billions each year unless there is maritime regulatory reform.

Asia is the world’s biggest merchandise exporter with a total of over one trillion US dollars each year. Ninety percent of it is transported by the sea. Yet, Asia is the only major trading block that has no proper regulatory protection for their shippers against liner shipping cartels. Over the past years, liners continue to collude to impose new and higher surcharges on the back of global financial crisis and container ship over-capacity.

“We are now living in the 21st century and believe this outmoded, outdated and out of touch century old cartel system should be abolished. This will bring substantial benefits to all the Asian countries,” Lu said.

ASC was formed in 2004 to bring shippers across this vast and dynamic region on to a single platform.

It seeks to address the issues impinging on trade, such as freight rates, custom regulations, maritime security and trade and shipping regulations.

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