security could raise export costs
measures on shipments to the United States from here and Colombo
Port's efforts to join the US Container Security Initiative (CSI)
could raise costs for shippers but failure to comply might hurt
exports, shipping industry officials said.
The Sri Lanka
Ports Authority is seeking to join the CSI, which places US Customs
agents at foreign ports to screen US-bound containers to prevent
The US move
to screen cargo more thoroughly and require shippers to provide
cargo manifest information 24 hours in advance comes in the wake
of heightened security concerns following the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001.
US Customs has
said it would strictly enforce its 24-hour rule for advance manifest
information when a grace period for compliance expires on February
Parakrama Dissanayake said it would advantageous for Sri Lanka to
join the CSI as American importers would prefer to import from countries
which screen cargo more carefully or from transhipment ports that
have the capability.
The SLPA plans
to acquire two mobile X-ray scanners to screen containers. They
would be able to scan 30 boxes an hour.
are not scanned exporters could be at a disadvantage vis a vis countries
with whom they compete which do scan their cargo," Dissanayake
The SLPA had
also adapted its procedures to comply with the 24-hour cargo manifest
rule without disrupting current practices, he added.
Malaysia, with whose ports Colombo competes, have already joined
The Sri Lanka
Shippers' Council said it fully supports the new security initiatives.
in fact discipline shippers to have the cargo ready on time,"
said Ravi Ratnapala, the council chairman. "There have been
many instances in the past where shippers wait for the last moment
to have the cargo ready and load, thus creating all sorts of inconveniences
to the port and shipping lines."
exporters to the US would find it to their advantage to find the
security initiative in place in Colombo.
thing we would want is to have our cargo transhipped at a port where
the CSI is in place due to our reluctance to join the programme
thus increasing our lead times to the US."
said the SLPA would either buy the X-ray scanners or get a third
party to procure them and provide the screening service for which
they would charge. The machines would cost $5-10 million.
The SLPA has
begun talks on the possibility of recovering the costs from shippers,
which could be around $10 per box, officials said.
said the full cost should not be passed on to the shippers as there
are other parties who are stakeholders who would benefit from such
screening, such as the Sri Lanka Customs and the defence authorities.
work load would reduce and it would also assist Customs authorities
to detect any sort of smuggling," he said. "Therefore
part of the cost should be borne by the government. If there's an
improvement in the speed in which containers are cleared at the
port gates by having an X-ray scanner this would benefit shippers
believe shippers and importers would not object to paying a reasonable
sum," he added. "However, operationally I have certain
doubts about how effective and efficient an X-ray scanner would
be. What matters is the speed at which a container is screened."
US embassy spokesman
Bruce A. Lohof said that if Colombo Port joins in the initiative,
"it would be taking another step toward the competitive edge.
Scanning containers in Colombo, before they leave for the US, would
make it that much easier for Sri Lanka to export to the States."
said all export cargoes to the US will need a 48-hour cut off time.
US Customs Commissioner
Robert C Bonner has warned that Customs would strictly enforce its
24-hour rule for advance manifest information when a grace period
for compliance expires on February 1.
an issue of national security," Bonner said. On February 2,
"we will indicate to carriers our intent to deny permits to
unload, and we will expect the co-operation of carriers to deny
loading at the foreign port to those who do not comply with the
provided sufficient time for the change of business practices
needed to comply
with the 24-hour rule," Bonner said. "Data that is incomplete
or late will not be tolerated from carriers or shippers."
Chinese businessmen - a dying breed?
Sri Lanka saw the arrival of Chinese immigrants during
1928 to 1950. These immigrants set up businesses in the island,
acclimatised themselves to the country's culture, learnt to speak
the language as well as the natives and put down very strong roots.
Their main areas of business range from dentistry, textiles and
restaurants. Unfortunately these old and established groups of Chinese
are now fast becoming a dying breed of businessmen in the country.
Yu Chang of
YCC Exporters Ltd who is an exporter of baby care products called
Doctor Baby, comes from the generation of these original immigrants
from a province called Hupeh.
He says that
his father was one of the first to arrive in Sri Lanka as far back
as 1928. Compared to India the influx of Chinese into Sri Lanka
during the corresponding period was low. The arrival was due to
a migratory trend during the period affecting quite a few of the
Chinese in the mainland and the thrill of going abroad and making
money. "The world was open for all these technicians,"
said Yu Chang
He said that
there are two separate and identifiable groups of Chinese; one would
be from the village called Hupeh, while the people dealing in textiles
are from the village of Shantung. Some of the families were the
Wei family, the Yee family, the Ching family and the Chang family.
These families are well established and very 'Ceylonised', said
who set up businesses as dental technicians called themselves that
because though they were not professionally qualified in the field
as they came from a village that practiced generations of orthodontic
work similar to the traditional Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka.
The Chinese immigrants from the village of Shantung came in around
1942 to 1950 and established 'original' Chinese restaurants down
Chatham Street like 'Parkview' and 'Lotus'. However, most of the
old Chinese restaurants which were set up by the old generation
have been closed down now as the younger generation have moved out
to other countries.
to these Chinese moving out of the country seeking greener pastures,
some of the subsequent generations have also diversified into various
other businesses. For instance, in addition to Yu Chang's own business,
which is quite different from the traditional profession of dentistry,
his brother has diversified into the field of importing dental products.
have set up prawn farms or have become turf accountants.
This is mainly
because most of them prefer to be professionally qualified or enter
more lucrative areas of business rather than carry on the traditional
Chang only some of the Chinese who have intermarried are staying
on in Sri Lanka. Some of the main reasons for the old businesses
closing down and the younger generation of Chinese leaving the country
have been the severe political instability and the lack of citizenship
in Sri Lanka. Some of the immigrants, unless they have married Sri
Lankans, are stateless. Another difficulty is that the professionally
qualified Chinese finds that the old business is unsuited to his
times, with the immigration regulations being eased, you get quite
a few of the vagrant Chinese coming in, who have nothing to do with
the old established Chinese."These Chinese get into more controversial
areas of moneymaking, like brothels under the guise of massage parlours,
or Chinese medicine shops and even restaurants.
is a new trend," said Chang, "the original people from
these provinces are genuine, legal people who have settled down
This new breed
of Chinese "come under the guise of the BOI" in order
to make "big money and are involved in a more profitable trade."
L.T. Hang of
'Chinese Lucky Stores', which sells textiles, said that when they
first came to Sri Lanka they sold textiles by cycling from place
to place, selling their products.
was originally from the village of Shantung though Hung himself
had been born here.
They had mainly
migrated to Sri Lanka due to the war in order to avoid conscription.
He too was of the view that the younger generation of Chinese prefer
to migrate or diversify into various other businesses rather than
continue traditional ones.
S.W. Chang who
is also from the village of Shantung and is the owner of "The
One Price Shop', dealing in textiles said, "We were born here
and we have got adapted to the Sri Lankan system and we are quite
did not feel that the generation after him would carry on the business.
"I think in time to come education is going to be more important
than doing business," he said.
Due to changes
in modern lifestyles he feels that there were fewer chances of sole
businesses surviving, as now things have been made more convenient
due to supermarkets and malls.
down to about ten or eleven of the original families who came down.
In time to come they will all be gone," he added.
JK Office Automation
marks 10 years of
Office Automation (JKOA) recently celebrated 10 years of strength
and excellence in the Sri Lankan market.
established on January 14, 1993 with a share capital of Rs. 5 million,
has grown in both scale and scope from 23 members to over 200 employees
today. JKOA is one of the largest office automation suppliers with
an annual turnover of half a billion rupees and has become the leader
in providing the most renowned and effective after-sales service
in the industry. It is the exclusive distributor for global power
brand Toshiba, and its product portfolio includes digital copier
solutions, copiers, facsimiles, notebook computers and business
telephone systems, supported by state-of-the-art workshop facilities.
impressive 10-year growth trajectory, it has won over 12 Quality
Service awards from its principals, Toshiba Corporation. Many of
the awards also cover good management and outstanding performance.
is JKOA's client base - 13,000 customers - and over 18,000 units
sold to-date, supported through an extensive network of agents islandwide
in 12 key towns and cities. JKOA is also the exclusive agent for
Toshiba in the Maldive Island, a company statement said.
expands to Jaffna
of the pioneers in the mobile phones operations in Sri Lanka has
now extended its coverage to Jaffna, a company statement said.
A group of
Mobitel staff members visited Jaffna recently to promote the network
and its services. "Among other improvements for 2003, there
is also a primary focus on expanding Mobitel's existing coverage
to new regions. Madulsima, Moneragala and Trincomalee are only a
few of the places that we have already covered," said Nalin
Perera, General Manager-Marketing, Mobitel.
investment envisaged for expansion will ensure coverage extending
to all major cities and towns including the northern and eastern
regions and all major highways and their connecting roads. Mobitel
is keeping to its promise of offering its customers the best in
coverage, clarity and customer care," he said.
In the midst
of Mobitel's fast expanding coverage, the company is preparing to
bring about a new GSM network. Mobitel is in the process of finalising
its plans for a GSM rollout. All mobile users in Sri Lanka would
experience the paradigm change in the service, quality and value.
A fully functional state-of-the-art GSM network is expected to be
in place within the year, the statement said.
donated a substantial quantity of books, as well as Rs. 125,000
to the Jaffna library to mark the launch of the service in the province.
Lubricants gets major Asian award
Lanka Limited (CLLL) has received the Silver Award for outstanding
performance among the ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants companies
in the Asia Pacific Region.
CLLL, Kishu Gomes received this award at the recently held regional
conference in Sydney, Australia, where Caltex, Sri Lanka, competed
with 17 other ChevronTexaco Lubricant companies in the region, including
New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand,
India and Vietnam. It received the Silver Award for the company's
outstanding performance for the year-end 2002.
There has been
a laid down criteria covering all aspects of the business in evaluating
outstanding performers in ChevronTexaco, Asia Pacific Global Lubricants,
which includes corporate compliance, social and environmental responsibilities,
financial performance and equity market performance, local market
achievements which includes maintenance of market share while defending
pricing and margin structures, merger integrations and human resource
development and management. CLLL has performed exceptionally well
in all the above aspects, to come second only to China Lubricants
operation, which has shown a significant turnaround in the Asia
this achievement, Gomes said that "the award is a culmination
of team effort with the right focus and strategic direction towards
achieving the company vision of becoming the pre-eminent marketer
of lubricants and being the most admired customer facing solutions
this award, CLLL has had a solid run in 2002, continuing to consolidate
its position as a leading blue chip in Sri Lanka and also to further
strengthen its place as the most successful privatized enterprise
in the country.
CLLL in its
third quarter results for shareholders says that purchasing synergies
achieved through the Chevron Texaco Merger has contributed over
Rs. 100 million in rebates on core raw material purchases through
a Global Supplier Agreement and various other rebates.