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The Association of Container Transporters (ACT), a responsible trade body tasked with improving standards of the local container transport trade, hosted its 31st Annual General Meeting requesting relevant authorities and sector ministries to push for improved regulations that will contribute to growth in trade.

The AGM and subsequent fellowship which was held at Hotel Galadari had numerous stakeholders in attendance including the Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA), Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), and Sri Lanka Customs. ACT’s objective is to be the voice of the industry and play a pivotal in developing the industry in partnership with regulatory bodies, line ministries and other trade chambers.

Speakers at the meeting asserted that despite ACT’s contribution to the efficient delivery of the goods in and out of the nation’s ports the industry remains in the shadows of Sri Lanka’s international trade sector.   Its objective is to assert itself as the premier body representing interest of the industry whilst joining hands with all stake holders in developing our nation.

Container trucking industry will create job opportunities to those seeking employment in a dynamic growth sector of our economy. Those with light vehicle licences can join as cleaners (assistants) till they fulfil the prerequisite of two years of light vehicle licences till they are able to obtain heavy vehicle licences. Such on the job vocational apprenticeship opportunities created by our industry is a definite boost to our economy.

“It is clear that the government needs to see the container transport industry for its importance and adopt appropriate policies to enable the industry to invest further in its development,” commented the Chief Guest at AGM, Minister of Ports and Shipping, Hon. Arjuna Ranatunga.

“The government needs to commit to its vision by making the island an export led economy, and consider the infrastructure available to expand the storage of containerized cargo inland,” said Upali Gunawardane, Immediate Past President of ACT. “The container transport makes an important contribution to the efficient delivery of the goods moving in and out of the country.”

Last year, the ACT and its membership engaged with policy-makers in a constructive manner and it intends to build on its base to ensure, ACT’s place as an important industry body.  ACT embraces development and improvements in cohesion with regulatory bodies and relevant line ministries.

“As an industrial body, ACT promotes the industry to attract new recruits and modernize its equipment and practices. Through instilling pride and sense of worth in drivers and assistants, we plan to maintain a steady flow of new recruits to the industry,” said Nimal Amarasekara, incoming President who had serve the organization for 24 years many most of which as Secretary and as the Vice President.

Next year, the ACT plans to hold discussions with Urban Development Authority (UDA) with the objective of getting a common container parking area in the vicinity of Peliyagoda, Orugodawatte, and Grandpass. ACT also plans have a dialogue with Sri Lanka Police to discuss Traffic congestion and harassment of drivers due to same. In addition, it hopes to hold discussions with Container Yard Operators to see how best the industry can be served if they are to provide 24-hour service when it comes to returning of empties to yard .