The first shipment from the Expo Global Distribution Centre (EGDC), a value added bonded warehousing facility under the free-port regulations at the Katunayake Export Processing Zone left Sri Lanka. EGDC is a BOI company registered under the new Finance Act – commercial Hub regulation no 1 of 2013 that provides a range of value added logistics services at point of origin to freight customers enabling them to save costs and manage the supply chain effectively.
Eskimo Fashion Knitwear is the first company to make use of EGDC’s unique value added services to international apparel retailers operating in Sri Lanka and the region. Reima Oy Finland is the first overseas buyer to benefit from EGDC’s services.
EGDC functions as a Free Port, which is a Duty Free Zone allowing retail brands to bring down goods to Sri Lanka without any customs inspection or duty. The facility operates as a distribution centre, providing storage solutions and value addition services, primarily targeted at the Fashion Apparel industry. In addition, EGDC provides services such as off shore businesses where goods can be procured from one country or manufactured in one country and shipped to another country without bringing same to Sri Lanka,
With the aim of making Sri Lanka an International Trading and Transhipment Hub, the Government of Sri Lanka is introducing several schemes and proposals. Free Port concept is one of the key proposals introduced to achieve this end.
Expolanka Holdings PLC Group CEO/Group Director Hanif Yusoof said: “This is an important milestone not only for EFL but also for Sri Lanka as a country seeking economic progress on par with countries such as Dubai and Singapore which already have such commercial hub facilities. As a prominent player in Sri Lanka’s Freight and Logistics sector, we find the Government’s strategic approach to encouraging the sector heartening.”
The geographic location of Sri Lanka will be a key factor for shipping and logistics, especially for the container shipping industry which accounts for over 50% of global trade value (2013) and over 70% of transhipment volume through the port of Colombo.
With regards to this project, the BOI stated ; “EGDC not only functions as an ‘entrepôt’, a trading spot where merchandise can be imported and exported free of import duties but also services the operation of multi country consolidation in Sri Lanka. EGDC offers front end services to overseas clients’ and functions as the headquarters of leading buyers for the management of the finance supply chain and billing operations. The BOI is actively promoting projects which fall under the new hub category. Hence the BOI is very pleased that this project has commenced commercial operations. This new area of investment will create many opportunities for employment and skill development. The rapid economic growth of Asia will boost hub-type operations. Sri Lanka’s central geographic position is ideally suited for this type of operation.”
Eskimo Fashion Knitwear Ltd Managing Director Manik Santiapillai stated, “ReimaOy are one of Eskimo’s major customers. When they expressed an interest to shift warehousing and export operations from China to Sri Lanka we referred them to Expo who is Eskimo’s logistics partner. We are extremely happy to see that the combined efforts of all parties involved have now borne fruition and will also contribute to the Government of Sri Lanka’s initiative to establish Sri Lanka as an international trading and transhipment hub. We are very confident that the successful conclusion of this first transaction will also contribute to increased exports from Sri Lanka of apparel and other industrial products in the coming years. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those whose hard work and unstinting efforts have resulted in this first export being made under the new ‘Finance Act Hub Regulations’.