Business Times

23% of GDP logistics costs resulting in too high cost of living

By Jagdish Hathiramani

The cost of logistics is 23% of Sri Lanka's Gross Domestic Product as against 10 % which is the global benchmark. So if this amount were reduced through greater efficiencies, there would also be a significant reduction in the cost of living, according to Saliya Senanayake, Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transportation (CILT) Sri Lanka.

The outgoing chairman of the local chapter of CILT, whose tenure ends at the end of this month, Mr. Senanayake further noted that, while the country had 550 CILT professionals employed by a number of blue chip companies including John Keells, Unilevers, etc., a greater number of professionals with CILT qualification would result in higher levels of efficiency which would in turn lower logistics costs all around, thus ultimately lowering the cost of living.

As such, CILT has started offering a number of new programmes to facilitate greater adoption of this qualification. These include the accreditation of the Hill Street Academy to offer a certificate and diploma-level courses in logistics and transportation. This is in addition to programmes already being offered by the CINEC Marine Campus and the University of Moratuwa.

Corporate memberships are also being offered to blue chip companies under the condition that they develop CILT professionals within the organisation. Additionally, plans are under way to set up logistics discussion groups to consider issue of these companies.

There are currently 30 corporate members, which include John Keells, Unilevers, Hayleys, SriLankan Airlines, etc. There are also incentives being offered to institutes and companies to foster CILT courses amongst school leavers and even women.

As one of only seven international vice presidents of CILT, and so responsible for this entire region, Mr. Senanayake further revealed that he was currently also heading a team to improve the standing of CILT in India. A market which was newer and had a wider surface area in comparison to the 25 year-old, geographically smaller Sri Lankan presence.

He identified Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi as the first phase of this push by CILT, while Bangalore and Calcutta would be tapped later. This would eventually allow for a total of 12 centres to be opened in India. He also noted that in the future Sri Lanka would be pitching to be the host city for the 2013 CILT International Management Committee Meeting and Conference, an event which would draw 200 international delegates.

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