The regulatory framework to develop Sri Lanka’s boat building industry was officially handed over to the implementing agencies under the patronage of Minister of Trade, Hon. Dr. Bandula Gunawardena on 29th March 2021 at the Trade Ministry.
Speaking at the occasion, Minister Gunawardena remarked that it was imperative for Sri Lanka to pursue a strategy reliant upon product diversification, market diversification and introduction of innovative products to increase the country’s exports and thus, developing an emerging sector like boat building to greater heights aligns perfectly with the required three-pronged strategy.
Meanwhile, State Minister of Boats and Shipping Industry Development, Hon Jayantha Samaraweera extended his appreciation to the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) for formulating a strategic framework to develop the boat building industry at a time no one was paying attention to this particular industry during his speech at the event.
“To regulate the boat manufacturing industry, yachting and nautical activities in the country and also to attract more foreign yachts to the Sri Lankan waters, the country was in need of proper registration procedures /a regulatory framework and a regulatory body in place encompassing all segments of the value chain”, EDB Chairman Suresh de Mel observed in his remarks.
The National Export Strategy five-year plan (2018-22) identified boat building and its related services as one of the five key industries to expand Sri Lanka’s export basket and increase the island’s export earnings to US$ 28 billion by 2022. To enable the boat building industry to realize its full potential, the National Budget 2018 allocated funds to develop a regulatory framework and infrastructure facilities for the industry. The EDB) spearheaded the initiatives to establish a regulatory framework for Sri Lanka’s boat building industry in consultation with the other private and government relevant stakeholders. M/S Lloyds Register Marine was hired as the consultant covering the entire value chain of the industry. The consultant had a series of meetings with the relevant government and private sector industry stakeholders to obtain their views in developing the regulatory framework. The regulatory framework covers registration, regulation, and technical guidelines for all boat categories manufactured in the country (other than the fishing boat category), leisure craft operations, and visiting yachts/crafts as well as imports of boats to Sri Lanka. Under this regulatory framework, “Regulations for Registration of Boat Yards” are proposed to be implemented under the Industrial Promotion Act, No. 46 of 1990. Other activities such as regulations for vessel group and certification, categorization of waterways, registration of non-conventional vessel sailing, licensing of boat masters, boat engineers and crew are recommended to be carried out under the existing Merchant Shipping Act No. 52 of 1971.
The event was graced by the Mrs. J. M. Bhadranie Jayawardhana, Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Mr. U D C Jayalal, Secretary, Ministry of Port & Shipping, Mr. D D Matharaarachchi, State Secretary of Boats & Shipping Industry Development, EDB Director General Chitranjalee Dissanayake and representatives of the boat building industry.