‘Bring Industry 4.0 as base to form Regional Logistics Hub’
Sri Lanka must bring Industry 4.0 into forming the base of a regional Logistics Hub whilst upgrading the existing domestic transport and logistics infrastructure to function efficiently, Senior –University of Moratuwa- Prof. Amal Kumarage said.
Noting that the transportation sector requires implicit policies to move forward, Prof. Kumarage stressed the need to devise a proper transportation pricing for both rail and bus transport and the need to set up a policy monitoring and review process to safeguard the policy-led implementation.
“We need to get our pricing right .Transportation pricing is currently done on a piecemeal basis. We are never on an equal playing field and transport has to be managed as a whole.” Prof. Kumarage told the expert panel discussion held under the theme on ‘Rethinking Sri Lanka’s Transport and Logistics Sector’. Moreover, he stated that oil pricing has to be reflected in vehicle pricing and those two must also be adjusted with.
“We cannot have one policy for rail transport pricing and another for bus transport price and this is basically what happens right now and nobody is looking at this holistically. We’re dropping the ball at every turn. First we need to sit and get a policy on transport pricing and that is an urgent implicit policy that needs to go into how these prices are to be managed.”
Highlighting the need to improve freight transport efficiency by offering concessions or investment holidays to ensure that both the domestic and domestic and foreign Logistics are integrated and are of the highest caliber to meet any international competition, Prof. Kumarage said it is also required to promote a non-motorized transport or active transport by manufacturing the tools and the vehicles needed for that such as bicycles.
He also emphasised that the quality of the bicycle industry needs to be upgraded to make them affordable to welcome the people.
Moreover, prof.Kumarage stated the railway freight needs to be deregulated and value-added services of passengers, new bus transport terminals need to be managed more professionally and the industry 4.0 digital standard must come into all passenger and freight operations in Sri Lanka, Prof. Kumarage stated.
“We need to find ways of improving state bus management and the management and the expenditure for institutions like the RDA which is getting a recurrent expenditure based on the capital money that is given there. RDA in order to maintain itself must be given larger and larger capital injections in order for it to exist. That cost will be even higher than the cost of the losses of the CTB.
“Hence we need to separate the state transport operators from the regulators as it is not required to have them in the same Ministry due to conflict of interest. Hence it is important to mainstream mobility as a service and give them the right of passage to speak in the transportation sector.”
Speaking further he stated that Sri Lanka historically has not been very successful in transport sector policy leadership and therefore policy being implemented is in fact obsolete. “Sri Lanka has not been successful in implementing necessary and timely policies as a result that the whole mechanism of reviewing existing policies and bringing in new policies has broken culture and the processes for policy implementation in the wider societies are also broken.
Prof .Kumarage said further that if proper policies are implemented, the country will have a golden opportunity to make transport not just efficient and convenient for Sri Lankans but also as a major thrust area for development of Sri Lanka.