“Sri Lanka: A Maritime and Logistics Hub in the Indian Ocean”- Promotion of Seafarer Facilitation Project to Philippine Maritime Industry Stakeholders

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila organized a webinar on the “Offshore Crew Transit Hub Procedure” Project, a public-private partnership initiative headed by the Government of Sri Lanka together with reputed Sri Lankan maritime industry stakeholders, on 19 January 2021.The project aims to provide safe and secure facilitations, accommodation, and charter flight options for international seafarer movements in Galle, Sri Lanka. The session was attended by representatives from relevant Philippine maritime industry stakeholders in the government and private sector.

In her welcome remarks, Ambassador Shobini Gunasekera highlighted the importance of working together in moving forward towards economic recovery in the new normal. Speaking about the maritime industry, she mentioned that Sri Lanka and the Philippines, as strategic regional maritime hubs in their respective regions, has a lot of similarities and complementing strength areas. Further, she assured the Embassy’s support to the SL maritime industry in its efforts to engage with their Philippine counterparts.

Subsequently, Director Levinson Alcantara of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) discussed the current updates on their agency’s functions pertaining to migrant workers with focus on the situation of Filipino of seafarers amidst the global health crisis. In acknowledging the worthwhile project, he encouraged the stakeholders to further explore opportunities for collaborative engagements in the maritime sector.

A comprehensive presentation on the project details was facilitated by Mr. Andre Fernando, Chairman of MAC Holdings, on behalf of the project’s private sector proponents, followed by a question and answer portion.

The webinar is one of the Embassy’s initiatives to promote Sri Lanka as a key regional logistics and distribution hub in Asia. Strategically located in the maritime corridors that connect Asia to Europe, Sri Lanka offers logistics, distribution, and related services such as crew changes, replenishment of supplies, etc. for the thousands of ships that annually ply the East-West shipping route in the Indian Ocean.

On the other hand, the Philippines, another key global industry player, accounts for a major percentage in the global maritime labor force with an estimated workforce of 1.7 million seafarers.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
21 January 2021