Minister Arjuna Ranatunga addressing the media briefing today. (Pic by Chandana Wijesinghe)

The Ceylon Shipping Corporation, which once had over 20 vessels and made a major contribution to the country’s economy, now has no ships of its own, it was revealed today. Addressing a media briefing to mark 44 years of the organization and the presentation of its development plan for the next five years, Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga said the ships had been sold off during previous years, severely hampering activities of the organization.

The corporation is expecting delivery of two vessels for coal transportation, the contracts of which were signed under the previous government. One vessel is due in November while the other is due next year, the minister further revealed.

A staggering 97 percent of state cargo is also being handled by private companies according to officials. Chairman of Ceylon Shipping Corporation, Shashi Danatunge said their research had found that the corporation handled just 3 percent of the state cargo while the rest was in the hands of outside parties. Danatunge said they were aggressively pursuing to secure the majority of the state cargo.