Container trucking industry faces multiple challenges
Vehicle owners are facing the challenge of fuel price increases and
all other costs such as vehicle servicing, tyres, tubes and spare parts,
said National Chamber, Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL)
Secretary Sujeiva Samaraweera. He said that it will be difficult to run
businesses at a profit when prices increase on a regular basis. Port
congestion due to heavy traffic around the Port of Colombo affects
Time wasted on the road should be minimised. The cost of running a KM
is around Rs.120-150 depending on the vehicle. Owners are compelled to
increase rates to sustain this business.
In line with President's Mahinda Rajapaksa's vision of creating a
naval hub in Sri Lanka, the trucking industry plays a major role. Supply
chain and cargo management are vital to achieve the desired goals and
expectations of the government which will in turn encourage foreign
investors to establish businesses in any part of the country.
The emerging Hambantota Port is of immense importance to the industry
as this will be an attractive location for many shipping lines.
The trucking industry in Sri Lanka offers over 100,000 direct and
indirect jobs and there are over 6,000 container trucks entering the
Colombo Port daily. Creating indirect employment for mechanics,
painters, vehicle body builders and many other related fields. The
contribution to the economy from this industry is commendable.
Due consideration should be given by the Ports Authority and the
Police Department to effectively coordinate this issue and remedial
action should be taken to achieve mutual benefit. The Ports Authority
should consider requests by the Association of Container Transporters
(ACT)and the 20 Footers Society to resolve practical issues they face.
Truckers staging a
ACT should be commended for resolving last week's stoppage of work by
truck drivers which could have affected the shipping industry. The
strike would have given negative publicity to the global shipping
industry as well.
The Industry should not permit drivers or cleaners to take the law
into their own hands. But as an industry we have to look into the basic
need of workers and give due consideration for reasonable requests
enabling them to act with self -respect and dignity.
Supporting services such as the Customs and the Sri Lanka Navy also
should join hands in finding a lasting solution to this issue. The
Customs Department has a greater role to play.
The Director of Customs at the RCT terminal has taken steps to ease
congestion by distributing cargo to other terminals that the Shipping
industry prefers. Meanwhile, the Customs Department should look into the
possibility of working round the clock and releasing imports to
consignees during night time , which will resolve many matters to a
Truckers will also face a challenge when they operate on the new toll
roads. The NCCSL suggests that the maximum speed of 100 kilometres
should be reduced for container carriers until such time that a new
vehicle fleet is replaced. State banks should also look at easy payment
for fleet owners to upgrade the fleet to meet present day demands. LF