Local News: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa explores the possibility of finding employment for Sri Lankan youths at prominent shipping companies in the world in the context of current situation where major shipping lines are facing labour shortages in the international market due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was discussed during a meeting with the representatives of leading local shipping companies at the Presidential Secretariat, today (18). The possibility for Sri Lankans working in foreign ships which are sailing from east to west close to the southern coastal belt to enter and leave from the Galle habour was also discussed.
The representatives of the shipping companies revealed that daily more than 300 trade vessels sail 10 nautical miles away from the Galle Port. They pointed out that by creating an environment for those sailors to return to their respective countries via Sri Lanka will pave the way to generate huge foreign exchange revenue. President Rajapaksa stressed that this opportunity can be used to promote SriLankan Airlines as well.
It was pointed out at the meeting that the Galle harbor could be developed into a Global Crew Exchange Hub. President instructed the officials to adhere to health guidelines and regulations in the course of implementing this programme.
Of the 1.6 million global shipping crew 16,000 or 1% of the total are Sri Lankans. They annually contribute USD 300 million to the Sri Lankan economy. President Rajapaksa added that a twofold increase in the number of Sri Lankans in the field would double the country’s foreign exchange income.
With the assurance of a quality-centric service to the foreign naval corporations, Sri Lankan employees can secure more opportunities to work for longer periods in foreign vessels, positively affecting the local economy.
Secretary to the President, P.B Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Chairman of Sri Lanka Port Authority, Retired General Daya Ratnayake and several heads of a number of prominent Naval Corporations were present at the discussion.