31 January 2011

New Incoterms 2010 International Commercial Terms Highlighted by Bank of Ceylon for its Customers

31st January 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Gayan Kanchana

Sri Lanka needs to improve awareness on International Commercial terms (Incoterms) to facilitate trade industry, an expert said. Bank of Ceylon (BoC) Corporate Branch Trade Division last week held a seminar on recent changes on Incoterms for its customers in Colombo.

The speaker at the seminar was BoC Trade Services Chief Manager Ranjith Haputhanthri.

International Commercial terms (Incoterms) are a series of international sales with terms, published by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and widely used in international commercial transactions.

These are accepted by Governments, legal authorities and practitioners worldwide for the interpretation of most commonly used terms in international trade.

Haputhanthri said, "In the past Incoterms has often been used incorrectly during contract negotiations."

The buyer and seller often chose Incoterms that do not fit with the agreements, way of transportation. Since the last revision of the Incoterms 2000, the process of international transportation has been developed due to the new techniques of transport, numerous modernizations and commercial practice as well.

"Two new Incoterm rules (DAT) Delivered at Terminal and (DAP) Delivered at Place have replaced the Incoterm 2000 rules (DAF) Delivered at frontier, (DES) Delivered Ex-Ship, (DEQ) Delivered Ex-Quay and (DDU) Delivered duty unpaid. The number of Incoterm rules has been reduced from 13 to 11. This has been achieved by substituting two new rules that may be used irrespective of the mode of transport. Under both new rules delivery occurs at a named destination.

Under DAT at buyer's disposal but ready for unloading," he said.

Haputhanthri said so far Incoterm rules have traditionally been used in international trade. Incoterm 2010 rules formally recognizes that they are available for application to both international and domestic trade. Before Incoterms 2010 rules it would find a guidance note.

The guidance note explains the fundamental of each Incoterms rules when it should be used, when risk passes, how costs are allocated between seller and buyer, the guidance notes are not part of the actual incoterms 2010 rules but are intended to help the user to select the appropriate Incoterm rule for the particular transaction.

"Sometimes parties want to alter an Incoterm rule. The incoterm 2010 rules do not prohibit such alterations.

But there are dangers in so doing. In order to avoid unwelcome surprises the parties should make the intended effect of such alterations extremely clear in their contracts," he said.

Related Info :
The new Incoterms® 2010 rules - Your essential tool to ensure correct application of the Incoterms® rules in global and domestic sales transactions

A Midwife from Sri Lanka in Most Outstanding 12 Health Workers Awards. Global Health Workforce Alliance Recognises Lalitha Padmini for Her Innovation

31st January 2011, InvestSriLanka

Mrs. Lalitha Padmini, a midwife from Sri Lanka, has been recognised as one of most outstanding 12 health workers in the world by the Global Health Workforce Alliance.


The Special Recognition Awards recognize health workers for their exceptional work carried out in rural or hardship areas.

Mrs. Lalitha Padmini has been selected from 58 nominations from 27 countries by an independent award selection committee, made up of prominent experts in the field of human resources for health.

The most outstanding 12 health workers will be featured in the 'Hall of Fame' in the Marketplace at the Second Global Forum of the . the Global Health Workforce Alliance.

The final winners will be announced at the closing ceremony on 29 January.

The Global Health Workforce Alliance was created in 2006 as a common platform for action to address the crisis of shortage of health workers.

The Alliance is a partnership of national governments, civil society, international agencies, finance institutions, researchers, educators and professional associations.

Lalitha Padmini’s Achievements

For the past 13 years Mrs. Lalitha Padmini has demonstrated outstanding innovations in the remote Sri Lankan village of Medagama. Child nutrition being a major cause of concern, Mrs. Padmini took action and developed a colour coded system designed to alert mothers of their children's weight.

This system has encouraged mothers to seek advice on how to improve their child's nutrition. Her clinic also won the award of best immunization coverage in 2008 thanks to her efforts in mobilizing the community to participate in immunization drives.

30 January 2011

Lankem to Expand Hotel Sector, Club Palm Bay Marawila & Sigiriya Village to be Refurbished, New Hotels in Kandy & Trincomalee

30th January 2011, www.sundaytimes.lk, By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

Lankem Ceylon PLC (LCP) is gearing to reposition its existing hotel properties, while also considering leisure projects in lands they own in Kandy and Trincomalee, officials said.

“We recently concluded rights issues in two of the hotels - Club Palm Bay in Marawila and Sigiriya Village in order to raise monies to refurbish them. We will be considering building properties in the lands we have in Kandy and Trincomalee,” Anushman Rajaratnam, Managing Director LCP told the Business Times.

He said the company ‘definitely’ has no plans to acquire hotels, adding that it’s ‘too costly’.

When asked about the land they own in D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha (the C.W. Mackie premises which they acquired a year ago), Mr. Rajaratnam said that over the medium term the company will consider developing this land.

“There’re no concrete plans as yet,” he added. He said that LCP saw growth in all three areas of business lines the company engages in, namely Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), rubber based export and trading and also construction products. “This trend should continue this year as well,” he added.

He said that LCP will eye more synergies with listed food distribution and trading firm C.W. Mackie and explore more business lines, now that their range of FMCGs has done well.

Looking to the future, Mr. Rajaratnam said that expanding more in the detergent market is on the cards. “We also foresee a growth in the market for laundry soaps. In keeping with this, we plan to open production facilities to expand our product portfolio to include this product,” he said.

He said the company put in a lot of effort in Research & Development (R&D) last year. “We spent Rs 150 million for setting up an agrochemical factory last year in Pannala and it has managed to get international certification,” he said.

Mr. Rajaratnam said that all LCP’s agrochemical operations were shifted to this factory last year. He said that LCP, through the Lankem brand is also a major supplier of industrial chemicals and bituminous products to the Sri Lankan market.

“These operations also did well last year,” he said. Kotagala Plantations Ltd., Agarapatana Plantations Ltd., Lankem Developments Ltd., Sigiriya Village Hotels Ltd., and Colombo Fort Hotels Ltd., are the main subsidiaries in the group’s diversified operations.

FCCISL Investor Forum Opens Doors for Investment in Jaffna

30th January 2011, www.sundaytimes.lk

The Jaffna International Trade Fair was successfully concluded on January 23. It was organized by Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services (Put) Ltd, in association with the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), and with the support of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.

The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha inaugurated the event with the participation of Governor of Northern Province Major General G.A Chandrasiri, President of FCCISL Tissa Jayaweera, Indonesian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Abbar Hussain and officials from the Northern Province, according to a FCCISL statement.

Over 45 Indian companies representing National Small Industrial Corporation (NSIC) and State of Kerala participated showcasing various machinery, equipment, and useful products for agro-based and food processing industries. Business delegations from The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) were also present at the fair.

Speaking at the event, the Indian High Commissioner said that the indication of the high priority attached to the region was evident with India coming as the partner country for the second consecutive year and also the growing interest in developing businesses in Jaffna among the Indian business community was clearly seen with the major participation of Indian businessmen at the fair.

The highlight of the fair was the two and a half day Investor Forum organized by FCCISL with the focus on SMEs development in the Northern Province, directed towards investment opportunities in Northern part of Sri Lanka following the end of the North and East conflict. The forum created a platform for diversified companies, service providers and many other traders those looking for investment opportunities and expansions to meet at one venue.

K. Poornachandran, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yarlpanam, A. R. Jeyamanon, Senior Deputy Director, BOI Jaffna region, Regional Managers/related officials from Commercial Bank, HNB, NDB and People’s Bank, Registrar of Lands, a representative of the Land Commissioner of the District Secretariat Jaffna, Government Agent of Jaffna were among the resource persons Director - SME Development and Deputy Director of the National Packaging Centre of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board were among the resource persons.

Related Info :
Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011 Draws Large Crowds

Airplane & Helicopter Operators Await Clearance to Operate in Sri Lanka

30th January 2011, www.sundaytimes.lk

Six airplane and six helicopter operators are awaiting Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sanction to operate their flights with the local aviation industry ready to capitalise on the peace dividend, according to a CAA official.

“There has been an increasing demand for both airplanes and helicopter operations domestically by individuals as well as entities,” H.M.C. Nimalsiri, Director General and CEO, CAA told the Business Times.

He said Macksons Holdings, Upali Aviation and Asian Aviation are amongst the firms which have applied for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to the CAA to start domestic aero plane operations. He added that Breeze Liner, Global Vectr Helicorp Ltd, I.W.S. Holdings, Senok Aviation, All Island Aviation and Blue Lotus Aviation (Pvt) Ltd are amongst those awaiting AOCs for helicopter operations. “All these applications are at various stages,” Mr. Nimalsiri added.

He said that before the Independence Day on February 4, SriLankan Airlines plans to launch its float-plane operations. “It’ll take off from the Beira Lake to Yudhaganawa (near Buttala)," he said, adding that another party is also seeking sanction for float-plane operations. He said presently 12 sites are approved for these operations - namely Randenigala, Polgolla, Nilaveli, Beruwela, Victoria and Koggala.

He added that now that the CAA Act has been passed, the regulator is armed with more teeth. “With this in place, the CAA is empowered to uplift the industry,” he said, explaining that the new Act has stipulated many regulatory provisions and strengthened the Minister’s powers. “Now we have rules in place for safety programmes, the Minister is empowered to make rules pertaining to a number of matters and the Director General can issue implementing standards for the industry,” he explained.

Mr Nimalsiri said this year the CAA will focus on simplifying the aircraft importation process, solving infrastructure issues of the operators, establishing hangars at domestic airports, etc, reviewing various charges levied on the operators, considering granting concession to operators investing in domestic aviation and also concessions to start up foreign carriers for limited period, while reviewing airspace restrictions are also on the cards this year.

Mr. Nimalsiri noted that CAA will also enhance public awareness in civil aviation while promoting aviation activities (air shows, etc) this year.

He added that the International Civil Aviation Organisation audit which was completed last October found that the Sri Lankan Aviation standards are much above those of the region. “With this recommendation the CAA has set the ground for this industry to be on top,” he said.

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29 January 2011

Sri Lanka Invites Top Professionals Abroad to Return Home as Economy Improves

28th january 2011, www.bi-me.com

With the onset of peace generating a steady economic turnaround in Sri Lanka, there is an increasing demand for highly qualified professionals in various sectors, providing a great opportunity for top Sri Lankan executives employed abroad to return home and immensely benefit from the economic revival, according to Fayaz Saleem, Managing Director of Colombo-based Appointments of International Management Specialists (AIMS), a pioneer Head hunting and executive search consultancy.

Mr. Saleem will be visiting the Middle East from January 30 to February 4 to give Sri Lankan executives an overview of Sri Lanka’s job market.

Sri Lanka’s economic growth is poised to accelerate this year on the back of rising tourist arrivals, foreign investment and business confidence after the end of the island’s nearly three decade civil war. Sri Lanka expects to achieve a growth of 8.5% in 2011 up from 8% last year.

Commenting on the economic transformation now underway in Sri Lanka, Mr. Saleem said: “The current strong political and economic climate has opened opportunities for local and foreign investors to take advantage of high profile projects that are underway and planned right across Sri Lanka. Additionally, the reconstruction process that is underway in the North and East in an area that was once a war zone has become an attractive proposition for local and international businesses.

“Some of the projects that have already commenced encompass regeneration and renewal of infrastructure, transport planning, ports,hotels, housing and area planning and development, urbanization, rural planning and development”.

However, Mr. Saleem believes that Sri Lanka’s domestic job market at this juncture cannot meet the increasing demand for quality professionals to handle the magnitude of the reformation process.

“The ground reality is that some of the best Sri Lankan professionals are gainfully employed all over the world including the GCC states, UK, Canada, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore etc, many of them holding positions of great responsibility. In such a situation, it would be necessary to attract migrant Sri Lankan professionals back to the country by formulating proactive measures to create stable employment and investment opportunities at home, attracting both young home-grown talent and experienced immigrants whose expertise and knowledge will promote social and economic development.

“In light of the present economic realities, an opportunity has opened for the country to introduce incentive policies to reverse the pervasive brain drain that has taken a toll on all sectors over the past three decades and more” Mr. Saleem said.

He added: “The opportunity is right for seasoned expatriate professionals to return to tap the growing opportunities that await them in their home country. Banks have been the first to grab the opportunity to establish themselves in post-war Sri Lanka. Another sector that is currently on an upward momentum, is tourism. In fact, the hospitality industry, which is a key beneficiary of the peace dividend, is one of the sectors that holds much promise for highly qualified Sri Lankan professionals, as a number of hotel projects will be launched this year”.

Fayaz Saleem can be contacted at fayazsaleem@eslaims.com

28 January 2011

Upper Kotmale to Complete by Year End. 150MW Electricity to National Grid from the Last Mega Hydro Power Project in Sri Lanka

27th January 2011, , www.news360.lk

79% of the construction work of the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project has been completed, says the Ministry of Power and Energy.

Accordingly the 1st phase of the project which will add 150 Mega Watts of electricity to the national grid will be fully completed by end this year.

Upper Kotmale which is the last such mega hydro power project to take place in Sri Lanka is located in the Nuwara Eliya district and will be using the water flowing from the Kotmale Oya, a branch of the Mahaweli River.

The US$ 450 JICA funded Upper Kotmale Hydro power project was in the drawing board since 1985 and was expected to be fully operational in the early parts of 2000.

However pressure from area politicians citing socio-economic and environmental issues delayed the project.

Sri Lanka’s electricity demand is growing at 8% per Annum.

Related Info :
Sri Lanka's Last Mega Hydro Power Project at Upper Kotmale to Compelete by 2011

World’s Largest Floating Book Fair Logos Hope to Call on Colombo Port Sri Lanka on March 18

27th January 2011, www.island.lk, By Harischandra Gunaratna

The world’s largest floating book fair, Logos Hope, will arrive at the Colombo Port on March 18 and will be in the country till April 03. The exhibition will be open to the public from March 19 – April 03.

The ship will exhibit half a million books and will have a wide selection with 7,000 different titles ranging from education, technology, history, philosophy, art, cookery and fiction to a selection of children’s books as well.

The ship will be in the dry docks for necessary repairs and will leave for Tuticorin on May 10 and will return to Galle on June 30 and continue the exhibition till July 18.

In an interview with The Island Financial Review at its host hotel, The Global Towers, Wellawatte, the Project Director of the ship for the Sri Lankan visit Lenhert Plaatjies of Namibia said, "Our mission is to express mercy in a tangible manner and give hope to millions of people around the world and thus we want to show the different nations that it is possible for us to live together and bring unity through diversity."

He said that the crew of the floating book fair consists of people from more than 50 different nationalities and this is the binding factor.

"Thirty percent of its total income is generated from the sale of books while the balance is pocketed-out by us," Plaatjies explained.

All those serving the book fair numbering about 400 are volunteers on a two year contract and our focus is on knowledge and we want to help the needy communities where ever we go, he said.

We provide relief aid to underdeveloped communities joining hands with the local NGOs and government institutions.

"We will be providing free books to these communities as well as educational institutions and set up libraries in such places," Plaatjies added.

The books could be purchased at affordable prices he said adding that the floating book fair is operated by a German based organization, GBA ships.

These books are provided to us by the suppliers at a very low cost.

We will be recruiting staff for the ship from Sri Lanka as well, he said.

To meet our expenses on board during the two years we are required to raise money within our own communities, he said.

Plaatjies said that the dawn of Peace in the country augurs well for the economic development as well as tourism and was confident that those visiting Sri Lanka on board "Logos Hope" will carry the message that it is a safe place to visit.

Bank of Ceylon to Open a Branch in Mumbai, the Financial Hub of India

27th January 2011, www.news360.lk

Bank of Ceylon is planning to open up a branch in Mumbai to capture a slice out of the cities growing financial market.

A Senior Official of the Bank said “Mumbai is the financial hub of India and we want to be there”.

He added having a presence in the City of Mumbai which has a population of 14 million and a sound banking system with the presence of Global financial firms is vital for the BOC.

The Bank believes the presence in India’s Commercial capital is important in the longer run.

Apart from the Mumbai Branch, BOC is also planning to open another 2 branches in Tutricorin and Rameshwaram.

The Official added, Tutricorin is important for BOC as the proposed ferry service between Colombo and Tutricorin is expected to generate lot of trade activities between the 2 nations.

A Branch in Rameshwaram aims to target the Sri Lankan’s living there.

BOC already operates a branch in Chennai, which the official added has brought in lot of businesses to the Bank.

“Lot of imports from Chennai is reaching Colombo Fort on a regular basis” added the Bank Official.

This has resulted in the Banks Chennai units Trade Finance business growing.

According to the Indian Banking regulation, opening up of a branch in India needs US$ 25 million as capital requirement.

Related Info :
Bank of Ceylon Establishes a Fully Fledged Investment Banking Arm

27 January 2011

Sri Lanka's MAS Holdings Invests $3.15mn on MAS Active Asialine Factory at Hambantota

27th January 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Charumini de Silva

MAS Active - Asialine, the newest facility of MAS Holdings will open today in Middeniya, Hambantota with a total investment of US $ 3.15 million. MAS Active - Asialine General Manager Venura Attanayake said MAS Holdings took over this company in 2006 with an initial investment of US $ 2.2 million.

The company then invested in machinery and in August last year the company decided to increase the capacity. At present, the company has provided over 1,500 employments for the area from which it was around 750 employees.

Attanayake said the company invested around US$ 950,000 as the second phase investment.

MAS Active - Asialine has been graded as an ‘A’ grade plant.

The company intends to enhance the productivity of the company further, which currently runs at an average productivity range of 50 to 65 percent.

MAS Active - Asialine is an integrated facility to handle woven and knit products with a capacity to produce over 600,000 pieces per day, while catering to the USA, UK and European markets. The company is actively involved in Asian market too.

The company practices the MAS Operating System (MOS) education to create industry leadership in lean manufacturing and innovation, which will help to raise the quality and craftsmanship of products.

“Our team is focused on being environmental friendly while taking ecological systems into consideration.

This factory is also committed to reduce the carbon footprint in the process and conserve water,” Attanayake said.

Sri Lanka Opens Bids for Industries by 25 Parties at Hambantota Magampura Port Next Week

26th January 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's ports authority will open financial proposals by 25 parties to start industries at a Chinese built port in the island's south next week, chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrema said.

He said a government committee had completed preliminary scrutiny of 25 proposals for suitablility and financial bids for the projects will be opened next week.

Wickrema has said that firms wanting to process cement, iron ore, fertilizer, sugar and vehicle assembly had given proposals.

Sri Lanka's 'Magampura' port in the Southern Hambantota town is a 360 million US dollar Chinese-built project.

It will be used for ship refueling and also as an industrial port. There are about 100 acres available to industries inside the spacious port, an official said.

Related Info :
Sri Lanka President Commissions Hambantota Magampura Port. 2nd Phase of Construction Begins
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Norochcholai Coal Power Plant to Supply 300MW Electricity as First Phase Completes

26th January 2011, www.news.lk

The first phase of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant has been completed and will be opened shortly.

Under the first phase of the project, the power plant would provide around 300 MW to the national grid which is 17% of the consumer requirement.

The second and third phase will generate another 600 MW to the national grid.

This project is to be fully commissioned by 2014 with the completion of its third stage. Sri Lanka uses around 28 GW hours of power daily and the contribution through thermal power is over 60 percent.

Due to recent heavy shower the Electricity board shut down all thermal power generation plant and wholly depend on hydropower as all reserviours in the country are now at spill level.

As a result the Board could save over Rs 100 million daily "There have been immense obstacles to the development of the country due to the lack of consensus. This is evident when considering the history of the Norochcholai Power Plant Project. I feel that this project had many setbacks on various occasions because people’s needs were shrouded by political expediency", stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his message for the commenced of second phase of the
project.

The government of China has provided USD 455 mn for this task which was initiated in July 2007. The government has allocated Rs.300mn.



26 January 2011

Sri Lanka's Odel Joins Intercontinental Group of Department Stores, the Largest Association for Department Stores Worldwide

25th January 2011, www.island.lk

Odel has been conferred membership of the Intercontinental Group of Department Stores (IGDS), the largest association of department stores in the world.

This prestigious membership puts Odel, the only IGDS member from Sri Lanka, in the company of some of the leading and most prominent department stores in the world including Selfridges, Saks 5th Avenue, Printemps, Parkson, Beco, FEDS, Shopper’s Stop, M&S and Woolworths.

By obtaining IGDS membership Odel has the potential to further enhance its operations, by utilising the services provided by the organisation to its members, the company said. IGDS acts as a platform for interaction between CEOs, senior managers and specialists of member organisations, organises conferences and seminars on pressing issues; explores and supports synergies between members and collects and disseminates information on the latest industry practices.

"We are very pleased with this membership as the screening process is stringent and members are handpicked due to the strict requirements that have to be met," Otara Gunewardene, Odel founder and CEO said. "The IGDS membership positions Odel as a leading department store with a strong brand and retail presence in the region, and puts Sri Lanka on the global shopping map."

IGDS President and CEO of Shopwise/Rustan, Philippines Bienvenido Tantoco and IGDS Executive Director Werner Studer in a joint statement said: "The Board is very proud to welcome Odel in our group and we are convinced that the membership will be of mutual benefit and prosperity in the years to come."

"Odel has convinced the IGDS Executive Board who is approving membership by its clear business plan, unique positioning and solid execution and implementation. IGDS is proud to accompany Odel on its future growth path. In return, IGDS members are going to benefit from the country specific know-how and information provided by Odel Limited in particular when it comes to sourcing from Sri Lanka or exchanging private label programmes."

IGDS was founded in June 1946 in Lugano (Switzerland) by eight European Department Stores. The key drivers to create IGDS were the need to share expertise and to combine purchasing power. The organisation comprises of one of the most unique and vibrant retail networks in the industry: 33 members from 31 countries, with total sales of over US$ 60 billion. Membership is exclusively reserved to leading Department Stores worldwide and limited, normally, to one member per country/region. The admission of a new member is subject to the acceptance of a majority of existing members.

Related Info :
Sri Lanka's Otara to Design for a UK Jean Retailer. Odel CEO Awarded the Best Entrepreneur at Stevie Awards, New York

24 January 2011

Sri Lanka Oil Exploration in Mannar Basin on Schedule. Tenders for more Blocks by End January

24th January 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Sanjeevi Jayasuriya

Oil exploration in the Mannar basin continues as per the work schedule. The tenders for more blocks in the Mannar basin will be finalized by January end.

“We are heading for the drilling process. The work will commence on July 1 after the completion of the ground work. We are in the process of carrying out the necessary studies,” Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat Director-General Dr Neil de Silva told Daily News Business.

The selection of a marketing consultant will be done once the bidding process is finalized where the marketing of more exploration blocks at the Mannar basin will be carried out.

“We are in search of a suitable candidate and the bids will be evaluated after the deadline which is also in end of January,” he said.

Cairns Lanka is securing necessary goods and services for drilling purposes. The work is progressing well.

The company which undertook drilling of three wells in the Mannar basin is finalizing the contracts for supply services to commence drilling.

Cairns Lanka called for sub contractors for services such as off-shore supply vessels, services related to drilling tools, well testing services, weather forecasting services, supply of fuel and water and ambulance service. There are 37 items listed for service contacts.

Related Info :
Sri Lanka's Mannar Basin Oil Drilling to Continue as Planned by Cairn

Cairn to Drill Sri Lanka's 1st Oil Wells in Mannar Basin in January. International Oil Exploration Tenders to be Called on more Blocks

Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) - Sri Lanka

Blue Water Rally Yachts Reach Galle, Sri Lanka on their World Tour

24th January 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Richmond Wijesekara - Bentota Group Corr

A fleet of yachts on a tour around the world arrived at the Galle harbour last Monday.

The fleet known as Blue Water Rally comprises 30 sail propelled yachts.

Blue Water Rally organizer Cichard Balt told the Daily News that the fleet had set sail from the port of Gibralter in Europe in October 2009.

It sailed through the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean and called at ports in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand during its voyage.

Several yacht owners from England, America, Australia, Italy, France and Spain and the members of their families have joined the voyage.

He also said they would visit Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Sigiriya, National Parks and Sanctuaries and the ruined cities - Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

23 January 2011

Ukraine Looks to Invest in Sri Lanka. Explores Market for Hightech Equipment

23rd January 2011, www.sundayobserver.lk, By Mohammed Naalir

While the Ukraine is looking forward to invest in Sri Lanka it also welcomes Sri Lankan investors who are keen on investing in Ukraine, Ambassador Leonid KOZHARA, Member of Ukraine Parliament, Deputy Head, International Relations Committee, Party of regions and Advisor to the Ukraine President said.

KOZHARA told the 'Sunday Observer' that Ukraine welcomes Sri Lanka's traditional products and is also willing to set up its market in Sri Lanka for high-tech equipment, helicopters and military hardware".

He said peace prevails throughout Sri Lanka and it is a positive sign to foreign investors to invest in the country. The international community is satisfied with the policies of President Mahinda Rajapaksa'. We are looking forward to invest in certain sectors in which Ukraine has specific know-how.

The Ukraine is ready to invest and re-build the infrastructure in the Northern and Eastern provinces, he said.KOZHARA expressed confidence that more tourists from Ukraine will visit Sri Lanka. He predicted that there would be over 200,000 Ukrainian tourists in Sri Lanka over the years.

The Ukraine Government was keen to maintain bilateral relationship between the two countries following the successful visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Ukraine last year.

He commended the victory over LTTE terrorists as a great achievement. The entire world was watching carefully what was happening in Sri Lanka. Tigers were listed as terrorists.

He said that he had been to Sri Lanka not only many times for business purposes but for vacations as well.

Ambassador KOZHARA who is due to hold bilateral talks with Sri Lanka Government will meet the Presidential staff as well.

The top level dialogue would be held during the visit of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's visit to Sri Lanka next year, KOZHARA added.

Related Info :
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Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011 Draws Large Crowds

23rd January 2011, www.sundayobserver.lk

The Jaffna Municipal Council grounds took a festive atmosphere last week with many local as well as Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian delegates participating at the Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011 (JITF), which commenced on Friday.

On the opening day President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka, Tissa Jayaweera said the Sri Lankan Chamber looks to unite and strengthen the inter-relationship between people through business and business has no barriers or borders.

The large Indian business community at the event was a significant factor with a separate pavilion for national Small Industries Corporation of India and the Kerala business community together with active involvement by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka and with India being the partner country for JITF 2011.

Director of India Exhibition and Conference Services Pvt. Ltd Joseph Kuriacose said JITF 2011 is a great opening for Indian businesses that compete in the global market and even has the opening, particularly in Jaffna to compete with local businesses.

More than 50 different companies have showcased their products at this year's exhibition compared to the two that represented the 2010 fair.

Related Info :
Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011 - FCCISL Brochure Download

Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011 Starts on 21st January

Telcos Invest $300mn in Sri Lanka as TRC Aims to Up Last Year's Rs120bn Revenue

23rd January 2011, www.sundaytimes.lk

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) says this year will see more than US $ 300 million worth of investment from the telco industry. “This is a large investment and we plan to increase the total revenue from the industry by at least Rs. 10 billion more than last year,” Anusha Pelpita, Director General TRC told the Business Times.

He said last year’s (approximate) revenue figure is Rs 120 billion. He added that the Interconnection regime, (which is the fee charged by the call receiving party from a call originating party; E.g.; from Dialog to Mobitel) and also the minimum floor rate for calls has helped the industry by eliminating unfair practices.

Mr. Pelpita added that while there’s been no unhealthy competition in terms of ‘voice’ or telephone calls from the industry players as was seen in 2009 and early 2010, the battle has now spilled onto data – or Internet connection speed (broadband speed).

“After we pointed out that none of the operators had more than 25% of the promised speed (by them to the customers) they have made it a point to improve the broadband connections,” he said.

He said that now the broadband speed is at 60% to 70%. He added that TRC will put out a standard stipulating a minimum broadband standard per day, which will see further progress in the Internet connection speed.

Mr. Pelpita said the regulator will over the next three years enhance the penetration levels of the broadband/Internet in the island. “Now it’s at 2% and we need to increase it to at least 10% by 2014,” he added.

In this respect, he said that more large investments in this area are needed. “Many Chinese and Indian parties want to come into broadband, but we want to grow the existing players first,” he added.

Mr. Pelpita said that the Commissioners sanctioned amendments to the TRC Act early this month. “The last amendment was 14 years ago – in 1996. The new Act (after the amendments) will give more teeth to the regulator,” he said. He said that a 10-member committee in this regard will be appointed and they hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel within six months.

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Construction to Start on 350metre $103mn Lotus Tower in February. Seven Level Colombo TV Tower Project by TRCSL

Research Vessel for Sri Lanka's Marine Research Agency. NARA Technical College to be Upgraded to Ocean University

22nd January 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's state marine research agency will buy a survey and research vessel from Taiwan to deepen knowledge and also upgrade a technical college to 'ocean university' status, a government minister said.

The state National Aquatic and Research Agency (NARA) had been given the nod by the cabinet of minister to purchase a research vessel for 313 million rupees, minister Anura Yapa said.

The vessel has capacity to conduct hydrography, oceanography and marine biology research.

"The research vessel to NARA will enhance survey activities in these field," minister Yapa said.

The government is also making the National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering into a full degree awarding status 'Ocean University'.

The cabinet of minister had given approval to draft new legislation to upgrade the college.

Sri Lanka is laying claim to extra sea area under international conventions. The end of a 30-year war had also opened up opportunities to increase marine activities.

Electric Trains for Sri Lanka. Initial Run between Veyangoda and Kalutara

23rd January 2011, www.sundayobserver.lk, By Ananda Kannangara

Low cost electric trains will be introduced to Sri Lanka before the end of this year, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said.
The Minister said that almost all developed countries use electric trains to transport goods and passengers due to low maintenance costs. Even developing nations in neighbouring countries with hydro power have also decided to introduce electric trains.

Minister Welgama told the Sunday Observer that the country's rail and bus transport sectors have shown a significant improvement during the past few months with the addition of 500 SLTB buses and a few trains and this encouraged us to go for electric trains.

"The objective of launching electric trains in Sri Lanka for the first time is not only to cover the high cost incurred by the Railway Department, but also to introduce an environment friendly transport service to the nation.

According to the Railway Commercial Superintendent Wijaya Samarasinghe, the electric trains will run between Veyangoda and Kalutara initially. Two main power stations to provide electricity will be built close to Veyangoda and Kalutara.

Thereafter electric trains will be introduced gradually to other parts of the country.A high level discussion was held in this connection in Colombo last week with the participation of Transport Minister Kumara Welgama and Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka.

The Sri Lanka Institution of Engineers and the Moratuwa University Engineering Faculty have also pledged assistance.

22 January 2011

Business Today Top 20 Sri Lankan Companies 2009-2010. JKH, HNB & BUKI Make Top 3. Sri Lanka an Exciting Place to Invest in 2011 - Hari Selvanathan

21st January 2011, www.island.lk, By Ifham Nizam

Renowned business leader, Harri Selvanathan thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa for taking quick initiatives to make Sri Lanka as the exciting place to invest in 2011.

Speaking at the annual Business Today Top 20 Awards ceremony last week in Colombo, representing Bukit Darah as the Managing Director, Selvanathan said as requested by him during last year’s award ceremony to make Sri Lanka a conducive environment for business, he was happy to witness that Sri Lanka being the best performing stock market.

He appreciated the Government for taking initiatives for rapid infrastructure development and giving low interest rates for conducive business development in the country.

He expressed confidence that the Company will be in a position to further expand their businesses.

Hatton National Bank Managing Director Rajendra Theagarajah said he was happy to see the end of the challenging 12 months and come out with flying colours and map the Bank with the nation’s journey.

John Keells Holdings Director Ronnie Peiris said that his Group will work and contribute towards the future contribution of Sri Lanka.

He thanked the dedicated stakeholders and the prompt initiatives for development by the Rajapaksa government for achieving the number one spot at the awards.

For 2009/2010 John Keells Holdings got the first spot from number three ranking last year. Transport was the main contributor to the Group’s after tax profits, contributing 41 per cent. Operation of the South Asia Gateway Terminals at the Colombo Port was the main driving factor for JKH.

Country’s premier private bank, Hatton National Bank and Bukit Darah secured the second and third slots.

Overcoming both external and internal hardships the Hatton National Bank recorded a 35 per cent growth in profit after tax and posted Rs 4.3 billion profit after tax. Bukit Darah’s consolidated profit after tax had increased to 158 per cent.

The Ceylon Tobacco Company ranked fourth while Commercial Bank of Ceylon secured the fifth spot. Colombo Dockyard was placed sixth, Sri Lanka Telecom at seventh while DFCC Bank secured the eighth position. Completing the top ten were Hayleys at ninth and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka at 10 positions.

The ranking continues with NDB Bank at 11, Sampath Bank -12, Aitken Spence -13, Cargills - 14, Lankem - 15, Lanka Orix Leasing Company – 15, Chevron Lubricants – 16, Nestlé Lanka – 16, Tokyo Cement Company 17, Diesel & Motor Engineering – 18, Seylan Bank –19 and Lanka Walltile -20.

Galle Literary Festival 2011 Expects Largest Participation in 5 Years for 5 Day Event from 26 - 30 January

21st January 2011, www.news360.lk

The 5 day event which will be held in the Southern town of Galle is expected to see the largest participation in its 5 year history.

Festival’s Events Director Kishani de Silva has told info.gov.lk that the enthusiasm to attend this year’s festival is at a higher level.

She has said that Hotel rooms in Galle are already booked for the event.

According to the organizers 65 acclaimed authors will take part in the upcoming Literary Festival covering all continents.

Among the expected writers are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mohsin Hamid, Jung Chang, Andrey Kurkov, Damon Galgut, William Fiennes, Charles Allen, Pankaj

Mishra, Tash Aw, Jill Dawson and also Pauline Melville.

Karen Roberts, Randy Boyagoda, Liyanage Amarakeerthi, Prashani Rambukwella, Roshi Fernando and Ranjini Obeyesekere are among the Sri Lankan writers who will take part in the event.

Poets will include Daljit Nagra, Roger McGough, Omar Musa, Vivimarie VanderPoorten and Tishani Doshi.

Jancis Robinson, England’s leading authority on wine, will head a strong gourmet participation which will also include Malaysian celebrity chef Tripat

Narayanan and fine wine from Sandalford in Western Australia.

Meanwhile several writers have called for boycotting the event in protest of the alleged human rights violations taken place in Sri Lanka during the war.

The Founder of the Galle Literary Festival Geoffrey Dobbs commenting on this has said, “it is unfortunate and ridiculous”.

Orhan Pamuk, who is a 2006 Nobel prize winning writer and Kiran Desai who won the 2006 Man Booker Prize also have withdrawn from the event.

The organizers said the two authors are unable to make it owing to ‘Visa issues’.

Related Info :
SriLankan Air Taxis Fly to Galle Literary Festival, January 26th to 30th 2011

Sri Lanka to Produce 10,000 Skilled Craftsmen in 3 Years to Meet Surging Demand Backed by USAID & Germany

21st January 2011, www.news360.lk

Sri Lanka has commenced a program to produce 10,000 skilled craftsmen within the next 3 years to meet the surging demand for skilled workers from the local construction industry.

According to the CEO of the Chamber of Construction Industry Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya, this will be done via two separate programs backed by the Government of Germany and also the USAID.

Thalgodapitiya said the German backed program has undertaken to train 5000 craftsmen from the District of Batticaloa in the East.

While the USAID program which is also now on, is aimed at producing 5000 skilled craftsmen from the Northern Province.

“We have started both programs” added Thalgodapitiya.

Germany has pumped in US$ 1.4 million Euros for the Eastern project while USAID has committed US$ 2.5 million for the Northern project.

The Chamber’s CEO said this program is also aimed at providing livelihood support for the people affected by the 3 decade conflict.

According to him Batticaloa has been given high priority, as it has been impacted heavily owing to the conflict and the Tsunami.

The youths from the North and East will be given training covering skill areas such as “Masonry”, “Carpentry” and “plumbing” etc.

Each youth will undergo 6 months training and upon completion will be given a National Vocational Qualifications level 3 Accreditation.

Both programs will go up to 2014, starting from now onwards, added Thalgodapitiya.

Sri Lanka Opens Advanced Rice Flour Mill to Make Flour for Bakery & Confectionery Industry

21st January 2011, www.news360.lk

The Factory which was declared opened by the Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal this morning, is a step taken towards establishing a rice flour industry in the country.

Central Bank says, the new factory is able to produce rice flour that contains particles with less than 120 microns in size, which it says is ideal for production of confectionery and bakery products.

It added since micron size particles are very much tiny, the rice flour produced out of this new factory can be used to make bread.

“Bakers can use 80% rice flour with 20% wheat flour to make bread”. announced a Central Bank statement.

The new factory has been funded by a state bank and refinanced by the Central Bank is one out of 2 rice flour producing factories the Authorities plans to open.

The move is aimed at getting ready to fully utilize the excess paddy production expected in the coming years, after a large extent of paddy fields which were lying idle in the North and East owing to the conflict recommencing cultivation.

21 January 2011

China Eastern Airlines to Up Frequency to Sri Lanka from Shanghai & Beijing with Increase in Travel between China & Sri Lanka

21st January 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Indunil Hewage

China Eastern Airlines is expected to increase frequency to Sri Lanka from Shanghai and Beijing in the near future. “With the prevailing peace in Sri Lanka and the close bi-lateral relationship between Sri Lanka and China in economic and political arenas has led to the increase in Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan businessmen are also visiting various destinations in China for business activities,” China Eastern Airlines G.S.A Dart Aviation Executive Director S Mohanadas said.

He said mega tourism related infrastructure facilities projects taking place in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country will definitely create many opportunities for Sri Lankan aviation industry.

China Eastern Airlines G.S.A Dart Aviation Director and General Manger Eustace Silva said the Chinese Government is planning to put up the largest single airport in China before the end of 2011.

This airport is capable of catering to the entire Asia. It is expected that with the opening up of this airport more opportunities will be created for Sri Lankan aviation industry.

With the assistance of reputed local travel agents, the Chinese Embassy and Sri Lanka Tourism are planning to attract more Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka.

“In addition we are planning to encourage more Sri Lankan travellers to go to China,” he said.

“China is considered as a preferred destination for business activities for local and global businessmen,” Silva said.

China Eastern Airlines opened its new office premises at no 72, Park Street, Colombo 2 yesterday.

China Eastern Airlines is one of the largest carriers in China and currently operates three flights per week from Kunming to Sri Lanka and going back to Male.
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