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Expolanka supports post-COVID revival of air freight forwarding from Mattala Airport

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Leading integrated global logistics solutions provider, Expolanka Freight (EFL) announced the successful completion of two shipments of general and perishable goods out of Mattala Rajapakse International Airport (MRIA) utilising converted incoming passenger repatriation flights last week.

Given the company’s role as the first to move cargo out of MRIA in 2013 and first to start operating during the pandemic, EFL worked in alignment with national objectives to help secure a rapid post-COVID economic resurgence.

In the past month, EFL shipped 25 tonnes of general cargo from Colombo to Dubai to markets in the United States and European Union utilising an Emirates repatriation flight on 9 August 2020.

Similarly, the company also facilitated the shipment of a further 4 tonnes of perishable fruits and vegetables supplied by YAS Lanka (Pvt) Ltd to Oman on 16 August 2020 via Salaam Air. Notably, domestic road freight between Mattala and BIA was facilitated using EFL’s network of specialised operators for perishable goods and standard fleet for general cargo.

“EFL is proud to have been the first and only logistics specialist with the requisite agility, advanced expertise and global network necessary to step up and directly support the Government’s efforts to revitalise cargo operations out of MRIA. These operations send an important signal to markets globally, namely: that despite all challenges, Sri Lanka is opening up for exports.

“In achieving this important milestone, we are extremely grateful to the support provided by airport authorities and Customs officials, as well as our international partners for working with speed and agility to ensure we keep the Sri Lankan economy moving efficiently, while ensuring the safe repatriation of our fellow citizens,” EFL Managing Director, Saif Yusoof stated.

He further noted that the scaling up of cargo operations at MRIA would have major positive implications for the country’s agriculture sector and related industries, given that the Mattala Airport was situated in close proximity to a major Agriculture Processing Zone, thus providing easy access to global markets for local producers of fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

General activity at the MRIA following the outbreak of COVID-19 has been sharply on the rise with over 50 flights involving 2,188 passengers having touched down at the airport in June and July 2020 alone – primarily for the purposes of repatriation and international ship crew changes.

EFL (Expolanka Freight) is a leading provider of supply chain solutions and is ranked among the top 30 airfreight forwarders in the world. Founded in 1982, EFL is headquartered in Sri Lanka and recognized as an expert in fashion and tech logistics and in recent times has partnered with leading airlines to provide weekly direct charters to the USA.



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SEC, CSE and the CFA Society SL aim to strengthen ESG focus in the Sri Lankan capital market

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Chairman Viraj Dayaratne PC and Director General Chinthaka Mendis were signatories of the MoU from the SEC while Chairman at CSE Dilshan Wirasekara and CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike signed on-behalf of the CSE. President CFASSL, Dinesh Warusavitharana CFA and Vice President CFASSL Aruna Perera CFA were the signatories from CFASSL. The signing ceremony which was held at the SEC was also attended by other senior officials from the three institutions.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the CFA Society Sri Lanka (CFASSL) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further strengthen Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) focus in the Sri Lankan capital market.

The MoU will enable the institutions to jointly deliver initiatives focused on educating local investors on ESG and fostering effective ESG practices and communication by Listed Companies. Furthermore, the MoU will also pave the way for cooperation in improving ESG-related know-how of local market practitioners, encouraging the adoption of the CFA Institute’s Global ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products and the introduction of ESG-related new products, standards and regulations.

Commenting on the development, Chairman of the SEC Viraj Dayaratne PC stated “Strengthening ESG focus in regulation, policy-making and in our advocacy efforts among investors, issuers and other market stakeholders is vital in ensuring that the Sri Lankan capital market benefits from the considerable interest in ESG investing observed globally. While capturing the knowledge and expertise of the CFA Society Sri Lanka in our ESG agenda offers considerable value, the MoU also offers a new avenue through which the SEC and CSE could strengthen ties with an institution that represents financial analysts and investment practitioners – professionals who are central to the development of the Sri Lankan capital market.”

Chairman at CSE Dilshan Wirasekara commenting on the MoU said “CSE has over the years maintained a strong commitment to creating ESG related awareness and to encourage the greater adoption of ESG practices and communication by listed companies as it not only creates opportunities for the market, but also creates a positive impact to the environment and society at-large. This MoU offers CSE the opportunity to benefit from the strategic direction and guidance of the industry regulator the SEC and tap into the technical know-how and expertise of CFASSL and its international network during the process of delivering multiple progressive ESG related objectives. The CSE looks forward to creating positive ESG related outcomes for investors, listed issuers and our stakeholders as a result of this collaboration.”

Dinesh Warusavitharana CFA, the President of CFASSL said “The local member society of CFA Institute, which is a global organization that provides education for investment professionals are pleased to collaborate with the SEC and CSE to educate capital market participants on ESG. As sustainable finance has grown rapidly in recent years, a growing number of institutional investors and funds now incorporate various ESG investing approaches to create better long-term financial value. We believe this tripartite collaboration will facilitate knowledge enhancement of the key participants on ESG to prepare them to access global funds dedicated for ESG investing.”

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Fuel crisis combines with profit-takings to drag down share market

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Hiran H. Senewiratne

Sri Lanka’s shares fell over 1.7 per cent within the first hour of trading, dragged down by weak investor sentiment amid the continuing fuel shortage. These developments combined with month-end profit takings to negatively affect the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.

“It is said that last week we saw the market gaining in four straight sessions solely on the news that a fuel shipment was due to arrive on June 24. However, now the country is unsure when it will receive its next fuel shipment, a top market analyst said.

“Therefore, unless there is confirmation on the fuel supply, I feel the market will continue to fall or move sideways. There are no other factors in the market for it to move up either. Further, the government’s previous night’s announcement on providing fuel to essential services created some issues as the government failed to define the phrase ‘essential services’ clearly. What sectors are being classified as essential? stock market analysts asked. “However, they have mentioned several sectors, such as public transport and health, but not clearly mentioned food supply, market analysts said.

Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All- Share Price Index went down by 139.25 points and S and P SL20 declined by 36.76 points. Turnover stood at Rs 815.3 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in Commercial Bank, which crossed 446,000 shares to the tune of Rs 22.3 million, its shares traded at Rs 50.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Rs 182.8 million (1.1 million shares traded), HNB Rs 81.9 million (one million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 72.5 million (1.1 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 69.9 million (9.5 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs 63.1 million (2.1 million shares traded) Commercial Bank Rs 43.3 million (464,000 shares traded) and LOLC Finance Rs 21.4 million (3.3 million shares traded). During the day 43.9 million share volumes changed hands in 11643 share transactions.

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Recommendations made by the Advisory Committee for Revival of Failed Licensed Finance Companies

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The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (Monetary Board) established the Advisory Committee for Revival of Failed Finance Companies (Committee) in October 2021 to examine possible revival options for five (5) failed finance companies, i.e., Central Investments & Finance Ltd., ETI Finance Ltd., TKS Finance Ltd., The Finance Company PLC and The Standard Credit Finance Ltd, of which licenses have been either cancelled or suspended. The Monetary Board has vested the Committee with the responsibility of recommending possible revival options or recommending liquidation for aforementioned five failed finance companies if such revival options do not seem feasible.

The Committee submitted its final report to the Monetary Board on 31.05.2022, after careful consideration of several proposals submitted by different parties for revival of four (4) of the above- mentioned companies.

The Monetary Board, having considered the Report of the Committee on the said five failed finance companies, noted that the proposals received for perusal of the said Committee were not viable and entailed a number of policy and legal implications, which did not appear to be workable within the existing regulatory framework. Further, given the present economic conditions, the said Committee does not expect any viable proposals to be received from prospective investors. Under these circumstances, the only option concerning the five (05) failed finance companies would be to continue with liquidation proceedings/filing for liquidation. In the light of the above, the Committee in its report has recommended to wind up the Committee. Based on the recommendation of the Committee the Monetary Board decided to dissolve the Committee.

Consequently, actions will be taken to liquidate the aforementioned five failed finance companies in accordance with applicable legal provisions.

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