Dhashma Karunaratne


Exploring segments that need improvement in the maritime logistics sector

Overview of the supply chain business
A supply chain simply connects goods with consumers.

What makes the difference…
The weakest link determines the strength of the entire supply chain and the one that offers resilience is the game changer.

Core strengths of this business activity
Cost-efficiency, connectivity and reliability.

Recent innovations or improvements that are most useful
Robotic process automation, which releases human minds to innovate.

Threats that hinder the sector’s growth
Convoluted traditional systems, conti¬nued delays in capacity enhancement, and barriers for seamless tracking and tracing of cargo from first to last mile delivery.

Impact of the economic crisis on the logistics sector
A ritardando in the growth of the global economy is further strained by inflation – and similar challenges are augmented for us here in Sri Lanka due to political instability.

Actions that your organisation has taken to safeguard and grow the sector
Bold investments by visionary leaders stand the test of time including turbulent seasons.

Measures to keep the sector healthy
Strategies to further diversify the business’ portfolios of investments.

Scope of maritime logistics in Sri Lanka
Great opportunities that are still promising due to the island’s strategic location on the main East-West ship¬ping route.

Other factors impacting this key element
Its close proximity to densely populated and growing countries.

Opportunities for sector growth
The growing export-import community in the region offers Sri Lanka a signi¬ficant advantage.

Evolving consumer trends or behaviours
Customised products at accelerated speeds to market – e.g. cost-efficient, environmentally-friendly and at the right price.

In simple terms, this means…
Consumers want the specs of a Ferrari and the environmental value of a Tesla at the price of a Maruti!

Key response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Some businesses embraced semi-virtual mobility to safeguard staff and engage better with them.

Initiatives to enhance customer satisfaction amid the challenging times
A focus on the rudiments with an operational excellence mindset and embarking on an exciting digital marketing strategy.

How these initiatives have helped…
They have helped sustain pioneers as trend-setters today.

Precautions to ensure an uninterrupted flow of services
Build and safeguard your teams, and excellence and superlative results will follow.

Focus areas for improvement by logistics professionals
Think beyond today’s shipment – think ahead, work smart and be fair.

Role of technology in the grow¬th of the sector in Sri Lanka
Technology plays an integral role in this sector – so we need to have port community systems that introduce transparency.

This would enable…
Tracking and tracing at every point.

Gender balance in the sector
When you work without thinking of your gender, good things will follow.

Competition drives innovation
Yes, competition compels businesses to stay ahead of the pack through innovation.

Corruption is affecting industrial and economic growth
For corruption to take place, there need to be givers and takers – so we need a complete change of mindset and way of doing things in Sri Lanka.

The bottom line
Everyone has a fiduciary duty.

Thoughts on what this sector would look like in five years
With the right capacity, digitalisation and business development, Sri Lanka’s supply chain network will pivot.

What that would look like – in a nutshell
If I may borrow my daughter’s vocabulary, ‘it will be epic!’

Qualities one needs to pursue a career as you have done
Get the rudiments right, be relevant and generate more than you earn.

Vision for Sri Lanka’s maritime freight logistics sector
We can be bigger and better by taking bolder steps towards a new horizon.

Your credo for success
‘Live right, walk straight and God will do the rest…’ – Rev. Dishan Wickramaratne.

– Compiled by Dona Senara

Dhashma Karunaratne is the Chief Operating Officer of Aitken Spence Freight and Assistant Vice President Business Development – Maritime Freight Logistics Sectors