Separate Industrial Zones for Boat Building Industry
By Ishara Gamage
The Sri Lankan Government is in the process of establishing export-oriented dedicated industrial zones to facilitate boat and ship building here, secretary to the State Ministry of Warehouse Facilities, Container Yards, Port Supply Facilities and Boats and Shipping Industry Development, D.D. Matararachchi told Ceylon FT.
Accordingly, the government plans to increase the export earnings of the local boats and ship building industry from the current US$ 70/80 million annually to US$ 100 million in the short to medium term, he said.
The Secretary added they hoped to amend the laws and regulations pertaining to the boat and shipbuilding industry which are more than a century old to suit the needs of the present generation.
Currently, Sail Lanka, Neil Marine (Pvt) Ltd, Dhanusha Group of Companies, Dolphin Marine Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Diyakawa Marine produce the requirements of boats for the local commercial and export markets. It should be noted the Sri Lanka Navy has become the latest entrant into this competitive industry.
Sail Lanka Charter is the leading leisure craft chartering agency in Sri Lanka that links all four coasts of the country, North, the South, the East and the West. It offers a wide range of services for both locals and tourists who are passionate about cruises and wish to travel on the blue ocean around the island.
With an US$ 18M investment, Sail Lanka has already started the yacht manufacturing process aimed at attracting local and foreign tourists. At present, their factory at Koggala has produced 10 yachts. In the future, Sail Lanka plans to put up more such facilities to manufacture yachts at Kayts and Welipatanwila, its Group MD Kaushal Rajapaksa explained.
He added that on their yachts they have plans to popularise the hotel boat concept in Sri Lanka. “We already operate in Matara, Weligama, Yachts Marina in the Colombo Port City, Trincomalee, Pasikudah and Nagadeepa,” he said.
Secretary Matararachchi said his ministry is working to commence at least two industrial zones in the Southern Province including the Ambalantota,Welipatanwila area for companies specialising in boat and ship building.
He said they hoped to allocate 80 to 100 acres of land required for this purpose through the Divisional Secretaries of the relevant areas.
Currently, Sri Lanka has the capacity to build and operate boats for yacht chartering and nautical activities. Further, foreign yachts can come into Sri Lankan waters, anchor and spend a few days in the country as we have attractive onshore activities such as whale/dolphin watching, scuba diving, leisure fishing, snorkelling, windsurfing, kite surfing throughout the year.
Meanwhile, a new pilot boat manufactured for the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) was handed over to SLPA on Monday at the Colombo Dockyard PLC.
Built by the Colombo Dockyard PLC, the pilot boat was designed by Macduff Ship designing Ltd of Scotland. The pilot boat with a length of 19 metres is designed to easily accommodate four pilots and four sailors. With a top speed of 22 nautical miles, this vessel is specially designed to operate under any weather conditions.