Throughout Sri Lanka’s history, its fortunes were tied to the maritime and shipping industry. Whilst it is true that our country is blessed with a wealth of natural resources, it is our ability to effectively trade that has enabled Sri Lanka to secure the level of cumulative economic development at present.
Logistics underpins our nation’s economic growth. For generations, Hayleys Advantis has been a part of that growth, serving as a key pillar on which Sri Lanka has built a globally competitive logistics hub. Backed by the blue-chip multinational conglomerate Hayleys PLC, Hayleys Advantis is at the forefront of the logistics industry providing end-to-end solutions covering air, land and sea. As Sri Lanka’s most diversified transportation and logistics provider, Advantis has served as a pioneering industry leader for over six decades, and is rapidly expanding its regional business across Asia.
In the wake of COVID-19, Sri Lanka has come to rely on its logistics sector like never before. Despite unprecedented challenges, Hayleys Advantis stepped up to deliver uninterrupted, comprehensive logistics services covering diverse industry verticals.
In this interview, Hayleys Advantis Managing Director Ruwan Waidyaratne focuses on the most significant contemporary challenges and opportunities in the logistics sector. Following are excerpts:
Q: How would you describe the current performance of Sri Lanka’s logistics sector, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Prior to the pandemic, the market grew at a rapid pace, with the Port of Colombo having reached a milestone 7 million TEUs in 2018, only to do better in 2019 when throughput hit 7.2 million TEUs despite it being a very challenging period in the country. For the sake of comparison, a decade previously, that figure was close to 3.5 million TEUs. During this time, there were some truly impressive feats in the logistics industry happening in the background. With the pandemic, we saw a complete disruption of global and local supply chains, and with it, unprecedented fluctuations in demand and supply. COVID-19 made people realise the fundamental role logistics plays in almost every facet of economic activity.
Though we saw a significant decline in global trade volumes from Q1 of 2020, there was a strong rebound later in the year. We have every expectation that as the COVID-19 crisis gradually ease with vaccination initiatives, global trade would surge. Given Sri Lanka’s perfect positioning along one of the world’s busiest maritime routes, and at such a crucial moment when Indian Ocean trade volumes are set to grow exponentially, we see tremendous opportunity for Sri Lankan logistics to capture new business.