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Sri Lanka Boat Industry enters Italian market

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Export Development Board (EDB) moving to initiate a number of promotional programmes for the Sri Lanka’s Boat Industry, participated with three boat building companies at the Genoa Boat Show, Italy, considered as one of Europe’s premier yacht shows, from 19th to 24th September.

The 59th edition of the Genoa Boat show organized by Fiera di Genova SpA and the Italian Marine Industry Association (UCINA) presented over 1,000 vessels on display including latest products from the national and international nautical industry. This year’s show hosted 986 exhibitors from 28 countries and 05 continents providing over 200,000 sqm of display area on water and land. 188,404 visitors from boating industry and yachting enthusiasts visited the show marking 8% increase over 2018.

This was Sri Lanka’s first ever participation at the Genoa Boat Show and Sri Lankan companies received remarkable response on the boats displayed at the show.  Also they got ample opportunity to meet buyers from across the globe and explore opportunities to connect to the Italian boat building value chain by manufacturing components and linking Sri Lanka’s excellent technical capabilities to the Italian boat building industry.

Further, SME companies got the opportunity to experience the latest developments, new trends in boat building and yachting industry including all kinds of boats to boat components and accessories. This was an ideal opportunity for them to gather knowledge to develop their production processes with latest technology.

A leading Sri Lankan Boat manufacturer was able to obtain orders for the boats displayed at the show to the value of Euro 6900 (Ex – Factory) and other companies are negotiating with the business inquiries they received.

EDB with the boat Building Technology Improvement Institute (BTI), the private sector industry association has commenced the “ICOMIA Asia Project” to profile Sri Lanka’s Boat Industry to identify and understand obstacles to growth of the recreational marine sector in Asia, thereby unlocking industry potential, gain support of the Government Authorities and develop a friendly recreational boating environment in the region.

A “Grow Boating Campaign” is also initiated to promote boating as a lifestyle in Sri Lanka and thereby improve the internal and external market demand for boating related products and services in Sri Lanka including boats manufactured in Sri Lanka.

Development of a regulatory framework to regulate the boat manufacturing industry, yachting and nautical activities in the country has been a crucial need of the industry to develop to its full potential. Therefore, the EDB under the guidance of the Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade and in collaboration with the Ministry of Ports & Shipping, Merchant Shipping Secretariat and other Government and private sector institutions initiated the development of a regulatory framework covering the entire value chain (excluding fishing boats) of the industry.

The Boat & Ship Building sector is identified as a focused sector in the National Export Strategy (NES) 2018-2020. This sector is a leading industry and an emerging export sector offering a wide variety of products and services to international markets.

The increasing demand for boats worldwide regional and local for fishing, industrial, commercial and leisure purposes open up huge opportunities and new markets for Sri Lanka, due to its strategic location, highly trainable workforce and the labour cost advantage.

The government having identified the importance and the potential of the development of the sector has made arrangements to allocate funds through the National Budget 2018 to establish infrastructure facilities for berthing, launching and testing (slipways/launching pads) and establish a breakwater in Kapparathota (Weligama) to facilitate launching. The pre feasibility study has already been completed in this regard and the feasibility study will be completed in October 2019.

The services of an international expert was obtained to develop the proposed regulatory framework. The final report will be completed by end of 2019 and will be handed over to an authorized government agency for the implementation.

With these developments it is important to strengthen the marketing, promotion and branding initiatives of the industry parallelly to enhance the national and international recognition of the Sri Lankan Boat industry.

EDB will continue to support the industry in resolving their issues and creating opportunity to them to grow in the international market.