The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) last week reacted strongly to recent reports in the media where a certain party accused the government of over regulating the shipping industry. Issuing a statement, JAAF Secretary General, Tuli Cooray said that Forum “vehemently objects to the self-centred view and denounce the article’s reference to Colombo being perceived as a negative Port”.

“The regulation referred to in the article has not, prevented any charge being collected from the party who is contracting for freight and it only prevents the imposition of charges on the non-contracting party by the service provider and that was the principle that was hailed by the JAAF in the struggle to bring about this regulation during the last 17 years,” Cooray said.

The JAAF is the apex body representing the largest manufacturing exporter, largest industrial employer and the largest user of logistics services.  We speak for the entirety of exporter  and importer community in Sri Lanka and we feel that these are baseless negative sentiments which will not augur well for the two communities, the statement noted.

“This new organization formed by a handful of service providers not keen in following ethical practices in the market, making an attempt to fragment the freight forwarding industry to be in confusion. They seek to gain recognition in order to reverse a regulation that was introduced to eliminate anti-competitive practices that was prevalent in the shipping industry,” Cooray charged.

JAAF feels that the obvious interest of this group is to send negative signals to the government, for which we as a member of the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council had prior knowledge of these attempts to scull the existing smooth process which has been in operation since 2014. Their desire is to hold the shippers to ransom by avoiding market forces, Cooray said.

“Knowing very well that the port of Colombo is a liner in/ liner out port and that imports or exports can’t deliver or receive on board ship but at the terminal, the responsibility of the shipping line is to deliver CY to CFS or CFS to CY, and collect all charges from the party contracting and making the booking for a shipment. If this new organization thinks that their way of collecting money through the non-contracting party is the international practice, we invite them to consult the London based-Global Shippers’ Forum, who represent cargo owners from around the world to obtain information as to what the best international practices are,” the statement added.