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Friday, May 03, 2013 - 06.29 GMT
This is the opportunity to be associated with the new Age of Asia - President

 

This an opportunity to be associated with the new Age of Asia the new Asian Century in which Sri Lanka is rapidly emerging as a maritime hub of the Global South where the key ports of call offer new prospects for profit and progress, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a message to the 2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Sri Lanka Ports, Trade and Logistics commenced at Hotel Hilton yesterday.

The rapid growth of Asia as a continent - gives South Asia and Sri Lanka a very special role to move ahead in a partnership of Asian growth. It gives Sri Lanka with her strategic location and growth of the ports sector the ability to stand out with the opportunities offered in port facilities and investment, the message read on the President's behalf by Member of Parliament Namal Rajapaksa added.

President Rajapaksa is pleased to invite you to travel in Sri Lanka see the progress we are making and the opportunities that are opening up for investment. The ports sector with the strategic investment in its expansion is the gateway to this new land of opportunity. You will see the growth potential in commerce and advances in logistics. You will see a country that offers you an important share in the growth that lies ahead the opportunity to be a valued partner in the progress of Sri Lanka.

Full text the message:

Hon. Ministers
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority
Honoured Participants and Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be present on this occasion to bring you the greetings and good wishes of my father, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who deeply regrets his inability to be present on this occasion and address you as earlier planned, as he is held up with urgent and unexpected matters.

President Rajapaksa, attaches great importance to the development of the Ports Sector of Sri Lanka and its contribution to development and economic progress of the country and share with you his thoughts in this key area of development.

This 2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Sri Lanka Ports, Trade and Logistics has an important focus on accelerating development and promoting commercial opportunities in what is now widely seen as South Asia’s Emerging Maritime Hub. It is also important because Sri Lanka is on the right path to establish our strategic position in the maritime routes of the Indian Ocean and reviving its importance in the trade routes of what was the ancient Silk Route.

We are discussing the rapid development of the Ports Sector in our country at a time when the balance of activity and influence in the international maritime sector is moving to the South of the globe. The current crisis in Western Europe with weakening economies and slow growth in a continent of economic and political power comes together with the rise in economic power in the Asian region. This gives the South Asian region a distinct advantage in new international patterns of trade and commerce.

Sri Lanka with major investments in the development of ports will soon stand out as the hub of trade and commercial activity in this region. Our progress comes when the growing economic power of Asia gives importance to the ports of the Global South. The important maritime trading routes of today show that Sri Lanka stands between the key centres of Dubai and Singapore with considerable opportunities for growth in our ports sector.

The new focus on our ports recalls the ancient days when the ocean trade between China and other centers in the East with Rome, Greece and other ports in the West had important links with Sri Lankan ports at that time. Sri Lanka’s ports were marked on Ptolemy’s first map of the world. The Port of Godawaya close to the South of our county was an important centre for naval expeditions. The names of Dambakolapatuna and Lanka Patuna are etched in the historical records of our country for their vital role in commerce and trade.

It is necessary to recall that in the days of western imperial power too the ports of Sri Lanka such as Galle Trincomalee and Colombo had great importance for the trade and wealth of the colonial rulers who held sway at the time. It is also interesting to note that during World War 2 after the fall of Singapore the Sri Lankan Port of Trincomalee– the second largest natural harbour in the world – sheltered the entire allied fleet in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All of this shows a great tradition where the ports of our land played a significant role in the commerce trade and cultural development of our country and people. In centuries past Sri Lanka was also a country that had great skills in shipbuilding and navigation. We are now rapidly reclaiming our position in the key navigation routes of the ocean around us with our investments in ports construction expansion and improvement.

Our new Magampura Port at Hambantota in the South of the country which is planned to serve the large fleets that have sailed passing us for centuries is a key factor in this new development strategy of the country. It has a tremendous capacity to serve the increasing number of vessels that sail in the seas around us as the economic and commercial strength of Asia expands rapidly.

Similarly we are expanding the Port of Colombo with its known capacity and efficiency in the handling of cargo and trans-shipment to increase its importance in this region. The Port of Galle that opened the colonial links to this country is being developed for both trade and tourism. The Port of Trincomalee will have great importance with the infrastructure development and investment opportunities in the East of the country. The Port of Oluvil will provide valuable servicing facilities for vessels in the South East of the country and the rebuilt Port of Kankesanturai will serve the needs of the North that is being rapidly developed after nearly three decades of destruction by the forces of terror.

A careful study of port development in Sri Lanka today will show that it is part of an overall plan of development. For example the Magampura Port at Hambantota is linked to an economic development zone to major investment projects in the south to important ventures in tourism development and is complemented with the new Mattala International Airport- the second international airport in our country. You will therefore see that port development is not done in isolation.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Any realistic approach to development in our region will take note of the growing importance of both China and India as emerging economic powers in the world. This growth is creating a new momentum in commerce and trade in our region. I am glad to note that Sri Lanka is today very well placed to plan our growth be closely and smoothly linked to the major advances in investment production and trade that are driving the rise of the Asian region.

The rapid growth of Asia as a continent - gives South Asia and Sri Lanka a very special role to move ahead in a partnership of Asian growth. It gives Sri Lanka with her strategic location and growth of the ports sector the ability to stand out with the opportunities offered in port facilities and investment.

I am glad to remind you that Sri Lanka has put behind its image of being a centre of terrorism. We are now a centre of peace and development. We have wiped out terrorism and seek to strengthen peace with investment and development. The friendship of our people and country extends to investors too in a land where the economic fundamentals are in very good shape.

We may be the envy of many developed countries today when we continue to achieve more than 6 per cent growth every year and that is after the huge cost of defeating terrorism and the necessary cost of building peace. It is therefore not surprising that the World Bank has ranked Sri Lanka highest in South Asia in its Index on Ease of Doing Business. Our policies are directed to maximize foreign direct investment - which we expect to reach US dollars 4 billion by 2016 just as we expect to have 2.5 million tourists by the same year.

Sri Lanka is seeing a good influx of investment from the high growth economies of India and China and has confidence of similar interest from other growth economies too.

Your interaction with the business sector in our country will give you a good indication of the facilities for investment. These include infrastructure administrative and legal facilities. You will learn of the availability of a skilled and readily trainable workforce. You will see the rapid expansion of Information Technology and learn of our targets to give the country complete broadband coverage in a few years from today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President Rajapaksa is pleased to invite you to travel in Sri Lanka see the progress we are making and the opportunities that are opening up for investment. The ports sector with the strategic investment in its expansion is the gateway to this new land of opportunity You will see the growth potential in commerce and advances in logistics. You will see a country that offers you an important share in the growth that lies ahead the opportunity to be a valued partner in the progress of Sri Lanka.

I convey President Rajapaksa’s joy to see your interest in Sri Lanka at a time when Asia is on the rise. It is an opportunity to be associated with the new Age of Asia the new Asian Century in which Sri Lanka is rapidly emerging as a maritime hub of the Global South where the key ports of call offer new prospects for profit and progress.

We thank all participants at this conference and exhibition for the interest and commitment you have shown.

We are happy to welcome you all to Sri Lanka to enjoy the warmth of our hospitality and share the freedom of our people in the oldest democracy in Asia and take back the best memories of your stay in a land of friendship and nature’s blessings in beauty.

May you be blessed by the Noble Triple Gem!



 


 

 
 
   
   
     
   
   

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Last modified: May 03, 2013.

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