Inside Story: Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka

This investigative report is open for response as the accused have been named by the reporter-editors As funny, stupid and pseudo-intellectual as it may sound, the above title of this article is not what I initially intended to give it.


Role of Diplomacy in Enhancing Exports


As the Government seeks to re-engage with the global economy in order to enhance exports and encourage export-oriented foreign direct investment, new strategies formulated collectively by all stakeholders are needed to complement these efforts, Foreign Secretary AruniWijewardane stated recently.

Speaking at the Members’ Forum 2022 organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber’s 19 Business Councils, Foreign Secretary Wijewardane said that ‘access to regional and global supply chains and re-engagement with the global economy to enhance exports and encourage export-oriented foreign direct investment is an important element of the government’s economic program to revitalize the domestic economy. She stressed the need to utilize Sri Lanka’s diplomatic outreach, expanding measures to enhance economic growth and generate revenue and build foreign reserves through the diplomatic network.  

The Members’ Forum 2022 offered an exclusive opportunity to expand diplomatic relations, enabling Members of the Ceylon Chamber to interact and network with Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and senior Government officials attached to trade, investment and tourism related institutions in Sri Lanka.

Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vish Govindasamy asked the diplomatic community and development partners in Sri Lanka to assist in ‘promoting economic relations and people-to-people contacts between Sri Lanka and the countries you are representing with a view to increase trade and investment volumes and tourist arrivals.

The Gold sponsors of the Members Forum 2022 were 99X, Lanka IOC and The Chartered Institute of IT, while South Asia Gateway Terminals and Bileeta Private Ltd. were the respective Silver and Bronze sponsors. Strategic sponsors were Astron Ltd, Ceyline Shipping, Capital Maharaja Organisation, Elpitiya Plantations, Macksons Paints Lanka Private Limited, and Salota International.

Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka: Step Down Mr Vice Chancellor – Teachers Association 


by A Special Correspondent

Sri Lanka Guardian published a news article regarding Two (02) Major Research Fraudulency committed by the current vice chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka on 04th November 2022.

It’s learnt that the Teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) has written a letter to the Vice Chancellor, Professor A. Rameez on 10th November 2022.

Meanwhile, the second article published in Sri Lanka Guardian on 22nd November 2022 brought into light another major 100% Research Fraudulency committed by Professor A. Rameez and his attempt to hide his Research Fraudulency from the E-Repository, SEUSL. The teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) met the Vice Chancellor on 14th November 2022 regarding its above-mentioned letter.

But the second letter written by the Teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) on 24th November 2022 to the Vice Chancellor shows that Prof. A. Rameez has FAILED to Refuse or Clarify the allegations made in the first article published in Sri Lanka Guardian even after the second article was published.

Teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) as a responsible academic union has tried to establish the Academic Integrity of its Institution and its members. But the Vice Chancellor Professor A. Rameez has failed to prove his Academic Integrity by any means of REFUSALS or CLARIFICATION for the allegations in both articles. The silence from the Vice Chancellor has made the dignity and the reputation of the whole academic community into turmoil. It is interesting to notice non-responsiveness from Professor A. Rameez regarding this and no action to step down from the Chief Executive Officer post of a National Higher Education Institution whilst his Academic Integrity in a huge Question.

Sri Lanka Guardian has not received any refusal or clarification about the allegations in both articles till 15th December 2022. But more shockingly it has been learnt that a significant number of Prof. A. Rammez’s publications are identified with various types of Research Fraudulency to date.

IMF gearing up to work closely with China

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday met with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in Huangshan, east China’s Anhui Province, pledging to strengthen macro-policy coordination.

Noting that China has been a participant in, upholder of and contributor to global economic governance, Li said China has kept a sound cooperative relationship with the IMF for many years.

He said China will continue to strengthen macro-policy coordination with all parties, including the IMF, to tackle debt, climate change and other global challenges, and make greater contributions to promoting global economic recovery and sustainable development.

China will implement the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative in all respects, Li said, adding that China will work with the relevant G20 members to formulate and participate in a fair and equitable debt-restructuring plan.

Pointing out that reform and opening up is an important experience of China in attaining its tremendous development achievement, Li said China will stay committed to its fundamental national policy of reform and opening up, keep to the path of peaceful development, and continue to pursue opening up at a high level.

Li said China will advance the opening up of its service sector on the basis of the full opening of its manufacturing sector.

He added that China will keep the RMB exchange rate generally stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level, which will be conducive to maintaining the stability of international industrial and supply chains.

Georgieva, who is in China for the seventh “1+6” Roundtable, said that the IMF places great importance on relations with China and commends the Chinese side for recalibrating its COVID response policies, which she believes will help boost economic growth.

The IMF is ready to work closely with China to promote stronger macro-policy coordination among countries, prevent fragmentation of the world economy, and jointly respond to common challenges such as climate change and debt, Georgieva added.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

CCC Proposals on (SOE) Reform

Statement issued by the Colombo Chamber of Commerce (CCC)

The presence of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in strategic sectors of Sri Lanka is proof of the significant value creation it can generate through spillover effects. The societal returns too are greater as it links to our day-to-day activities such as the water we drink, the electricity we use, or even the bus or train we ride. Therefore, addressing the suboptimal performances of SOEs by inculcating a performance oriented culture whilst ensuring transparency and accountability are warranted at this difficult juncture of trying to recover from economic turmoil.

While the Government may need to operate some SOEs due to reasons such as providing essential goods and services at an affordable price, there are large number of SOEs which are purely engaged in commercial activities that can function more efficiently and effectively under private sector ownership. Hence, we recommend that SOEs falling into the latter category be divested either fully or partially through a well-structured, open and transparent process.

In this regard, the Public Sector Reform Steering Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, through its Sub Committee on SOE Reform recently presented a set of proposals to the policy makers on SOE reform. The proposals are twofold in which the first section of the document suggests a right model to adopt for the SOE restructuring agency (announced in the Interim National Budget for 2022) in order to provide the agency with the authority and power to carry out the required SOE Reforms. The second part of the document focuses on a framework for practical implementation of SOE reforms after careful analysis of the role played by each SOE.  

1)     Model for the SOE Reform Agency

The objectives of the SOE Reform Agency should be to;

  • To separate the state’s ownership functions from its policy-making and regulatory functions in order to help avoid or minimise potential conflicts of interest.
  • To minimize the scope for political interference and bring greater professionalism to SOEs.
  • To promote greater coherence and consistency in applying corporate governance standards and performance management systems across all SOEs.

It is imperative to ensure that the SOE agency would not be relegated to play a passive role with little authority over the SOEs. It should be able to collaborate with line ministries and other related agencies (including the Public Enterprise Department), and gather information related to SOEs. It should also be shielded from short-sighted political pressures and government interferences in operational decisions. Therefore, it should have the freedom and authority to carry out the reform process without any restrictions.

  1. 1 Holding Company

The ideal scenario for the SOE agency would be to have a holding company established under the Companies Act No 7 of 2007 and bring all the SOEs under the control of the holding company. So that as the parent company, the holding company will have the authority and power to control entities directly under it. A company-type structure will also have a separate legal identity, their own governance bodies and will be exempt from cumbersome government polices relating to remuneration policies and procurement processes.

However, in the context of Sri Lanka, there are 36 SOEs that are governed by the ‘Administer Part II’ of the Finance Act No 38 of 1971 and 86 SOEs established under the Companies Act No 7 of 2007[i]. Out of the SOEs established under the Companies Act, about 44% of the SOEs are not owned by the treasury (the majority stake is not held by the treasury) and most SOEs are also gazetted under different line ministries. According to the Gazette Extraordinary No 2289/43 published on 22 July, 2022 and amendments thereof, these line ministries have a broad spectrum of powers and functions over the SOEs and this is detrimental for the SOEs performance and driving reforms. 

A critical goal of the SOE agency is to separate the state’s ownership functions from its policy-making and regulatory functions to minimize the conflicts of interest. The SOE agency should be the specialised entity that serves as the shareholder representative with oversight responsibility for all SOEs. It should be responsible for exercising all ownership functions on behalf of the state as the owner, while the line ministry should only be responsible for policy making in relation to the sectors in which SOEs operate. This is a model practiced across many countries.

Therefore, we recommend that all SOEs should move away from this complicated dual ownership model in which line ministries and other entities have ownership responsibilities, and to move to a centralised ownership model where all the SOEs are under the holding company. In this regard, as a first step, we recommend to gazette all the SOEs under the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

After the SOEs are brought under the MoF then the conversion of the 36 corporations into companies should be looked at. This can be easily carried out with the Conversion of Public Corporations or Government Owned Business Undertakings into Public Companies Act, No 23 of 1987[ii].

  1. 2 Interim Arrangement

If there is undue delay in setting up the holding company structure then in order to expedite the reform process, an alternative model can be looked at. Upon examining the experience of various SOE agencies Sri Lanka has had over the past couple of decades, such as Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA) and State Resources Management Corporation Ltd (SRMC), we recommend that this alternative model in the interim period, be an agency established by an Act of Parliament similar to the Public Enterprise Reform Commission (PERC), which had many successes including the divestment of Sri Lanka Telecom, Distilleries Corporation, Cement Corporation, Ceylon Oxygen, and Orient Lanka, amongst others. Pending legislative enactment, it can operate as a Unit under the Ministry of Finance.

However, this will only be a sunset agency until all the SOEs are brought under the Holding Company. Once all the SOEs are under the holding company, the agency under the Act of Parliament will cease its existence. This agency established by the Act of Parliament can also drive the first round of divestments and this can be taken over by the Holding Company later on when the agency ceases to operate after it has completed the task of bringing all SOEs under one umbrella.

  1. 3 Appointments to SOE Boards

In addition to bringing all the SOEs under one umbrella and moving away from the dual ownership model, competent boards of directors for all SOEs should be appointed through a robust and transparent mechanism. This would further help SOEs to operate at greater arm’s length and limit political interference, since, a board bears the ultimate responsibility for the stewardship and performance of the SOE, and not a line a ministry or any other supervisory body. In this regard, its composition and functioning have a significant impact on the governance of the SOE and thereby on its operational and financial performance.

We propose a similar mechanism to what is available in Malaysia where the SOE agency carries out the appointment process of SOE boards. Here, the nomination committees of listed SOEs in Malaysia identifies potential board candidates in conjunction with Khazanah (the holding company) and others. It prepares the short list for approval by the board, and then submits the approved list to Khazanah for appointment.

After the initial boards are appointed to the SOEs by the SOE agency/holding company as applicable, a system of rotation can also be introduced so that the board continuity is maintained with a couple of directors retiring each year and being available for re-election or replacement. No director should be permitted to serve more than two consecutive terms of office.

As the Board of Directors of the Holding Company will have significant power and influence over the appointment of boards to SOEs under it, there must be a transparent and independent process to appoint this Board, to ensure those with high standing and no apparent conflicts of interest are selected.

  1. 4 Internal Structure

Finally, we propose that the SOE agency operates under the Ministry of Finance (MoF). Countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, India and UK too have their SOE agency under the MoF. The agency will have three main operational departments, namely; the Divestment Unit, Performance Management Unit and Restructuring Unit. These units will be supported by other service departments such as Legal, Communications and Finance.

2)     Framework for Practical Implementation of SOE Reform

As a first step in identifying SOEs for divestment, the subcommittee on SOE Reforms developed a framework to understand if the SOE should remain under government ownership or not. The framework followed is given below.

  1. Whether it provides an essential good or service
  2. Whether Private sector is capable of delivering it
  3. Whether sufficient competition is there to ensure appropriate quality and pricing

In this regard, 19 SOEs were identified as entities that require government ownership, 127 SOEs were identified as SOEs that do not require government ownership and 4 entities that require decoupling of regulatory and operational activities after which some parts can be spun off and considered for divestment. A further 10 SOEs were identified as those requiring more in-depth analysis using special expertise to restructure or liberalise.

Next, the SOEs that were identified for divestment (SOEs that do not require government ownership), were prioritised under immediate, medium and long term. The framework for segmentation was developed with four metrics. These four are;

  1. Impact on Budget         
  2. Absence of Controversy            
  3. Ease of Implementation            
  4. Ability to attract Global Players            

When an entity scored high for the above metrics, it received a score of 3, medium received a score of 2 and low received a score of 1. The prioritisation under different phases was done according to the score each SOE obtained. When an SOE received a score of 8 or above it was placed under the Immediate Divestment category and scores between 5 and 7 were placed under Medium Term Divestment category.

The results obtained relayed 108 entities for immediate to medium term divestment and 19 entities for liquidation. This is in addition to the 19 entities that were identified for government ownership, 4 entities for decoupling and 10 entities which require specialised expertise to divest. 

The liquidation of the SOEs identified in that category can be carried out immediately without bringing them under the SOE agency or the holding company. Other entities will fall under the following divisions with the assigned mandate given below.

Table 01: Summary of Department for Each SOE Reform Category. Referencing the Holding Company (1.1 above) / Interim Agency (1.2) above.

Category TypeProposed ActionDepartment in Charge
SOEs under Immediate to Medium Term DivestmentDivestment and Performance ManagementDivestment and Performance Management Units of SOE Agency  
Entities that require Decoupling Regulatory and Operational Activities Restructuring and Performance Management Unit of SOE Agency  
SOEs that will be under Government OwnershipAdvising and providing guidelines for restructuring  Restructuring and Performance Management Units of SOE Agency  
SOEs that require Special Expertise to Restructure or Liberalise   Restructuring and Performance Management Units of SOE Agency  

Therefore, we believe by carrying out the above proposed model for the SOE restructuring agency, holding company and proposed framework to carry out SOE reforms, it can help transformation of existing SOEs from fiscal burdens and into value creators so that SOEs can be an impetus for Sri Lanka’s growth and development, rather than serving as stumbling blocks.

The full submission can be accessed via SOE Reforms Submission Final 11Nov.pdf

[i] Based on the SOEs identified for divestment (excluding entities for liquidation and government ownership)


Colombo Port: Highest Performing Port in South Asia 

United Nations Conference On Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its new Review of Maritime Transport 2022 has revealed that the Port of Colombo is the highest-performing port in South Asia. The Review of Maritime Transport is a recurrent publication prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat since 1968 with the aim of fostering the transparency of maritime markets and analysing relevant developments.

The data in the report suggested that despite the challenges of socio-political turbulences, the country is struggling to overcome, the fact that Colombo Port has remarkably improved its Global rank. According to the Container Port Performance Index 2022 initiated by the World Bank and S&P Global Port Performance Program quoted in the Review, Colombo Port, which was ranked 33rd last year, has been ranked 24th this year.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah port, which ranked second last year, has been ranked first this year, while Japan’s Yokohama Port, ranked first last year, has ranked tenth this year.  

Meanwhile, the review finds that Asia remained the world’s leading maritime cargo handling centre in 2021, accounting for 42% of exports and 64% of imports. However, this annual comprehensive review of global maritime transport, warns that the maritime sector will require greater investment in infrastructure and sustainability to weather future supply chain crises.

The review further observed that in 2021, around 40% of total containerized trade was on the main East-West routes – between Asia, Europe and the United States. Non-mainlane East-West routes such as South Asia-Mediterranean accounted for 12.9%.

In 2021, maritime trade recovery was disrupted by supply chain problems, then in 2022 the situation deteriorated further with the impact of recurrent COVID-19 infections, especially in China, and labour strikes in ports and the logistics sector, including in the Republic of Korea. In 2022, there were new waves of COVID-19 infections that further disrupted supply chains, particularly in China, which had a zero-COVID policy.

Meanwhile, assessing the Review, the UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan says that, “We need to learn from the current supply chain crisis and prepare better for future challenges and transitions. This includes enhancing intermodal infrastructure, fleet renewal and improving port performance and trade facilitation. And we must not delay the decarbonization of shipping,” she added.

UNCTAD is the UN’s leading institution dealing with trade and development. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. UNCTAD is part of the UN Secretariat and has a membership of 195 countries, one of the largest in the UN system. UNCTAD supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively.

UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2022:  Facts and Figures on Asia and The Pacific


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development releases today the Review of Maritime Transport 2022. Here are the facts and figures on Asia and the Pacific.

Trends in maritime trade

  • In 2021, around 40% of total containerized trade was on the main East-West routes – between Asia, Europe and the United States. Non-mainlane East-West routes such as South Asia-Mediterranean accounted for 12.9%.
  • Performance across container shipping lanes also varied depending on the direction of trade – headhaul or backhaul. Volumes on the Transpacific route increased by 15%, reflecting a 20% growth on the peak East Asia to North America leg. Meanwhile, trade on the backhaul journey fell by 1.6%. Trade on the Asia-Europe route increased by 10%, supported by growing volumes from East-Asia to Europe (14.7%).
  • In 2021, Asian container exporters were among the top five, accounting for almost half the traffic, and included China, Viet Nam, the Republic of Korea and Japan.
  • Trade in iron ore depends heavily on developments in China, and in 2021 it grew only marginally, by 1%, China accounted for about 73% of world iron ore imports – a share above the pre-pandemic level.

Fleet developments and supply 

  • The ranking of fleet ownership and registration is more volatile in terms of commercial value than in tonnage. China registered the highest increase in share, of 1.1 percentage points, followed by Switzerland, Hong Kong China and the Republic of Korea, whose fleets have a higher proportion of container ships.
  • As of 1 January 2022, the top three ship-owning countries, in terms of both dead-weight tonnage and of commercial value, included two Asian countries, namely China and Japan.
  • In the 12 months to 1 January 2022, China recorded the second highest increase in tonnage (13%) among the top 25 ship-owning countries.
  • Among the top six registries, ships registered in Panama, followed by China, had the highest average age of total fleet. The lowest was for Marshall Islands followed by Singapore. Differences in age reflect differences in registries’ policies, pricing structure and specialization in different ship types.
  • Maritime ship supply continues to be dominated by three countries – China, the Republic of Korea and Japan, which in 2022 together had 94% of the market. Over the past year, shipbuilding increased in China by 15.5% and in the Republic of Korea by 8.3 %, but in Japan it declined by 16.4%.
  • In June 2022, the four main economies ordering alternative fuel-capable ships were the Republic of Korea at 70% of their orders, China at 26%, Europe at 58%, and Japan at 17%.
  • In Bangladesh, the 2019 Flag Vessels Protection Act provided for 50% of cargos to be carried by local vessels, which would have VAT exemption and berthing priority at local ports. The aim was to promote investment by local entrepreneurs, increase transport supply capacity and relieve bottlenecks in trading operations in key export routes. In 2020, the national fleet grew in deadweight tonnage by 18% and in 2021 by 19%.
  • In Viet Nam,the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed several measures aimed at easing supply chain issues along intra-Asian routes and reducing the burden on traders. These included tax incentives to attract foreign investment in new ships and to encourage private-sector investment in key infrastructure upgrades, as well as measures to encourage fleet renewal and the development of a coastal fleet management programme.

Disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic

  • In 2021, maritime trade recovery was disrupted by supply chain problems, then in 2022 the situation deteriorated further with the impact of recurrent COVID-19 infections, especially in China, and labour strikes in ports and the logistics sector, including in the Republic of Korea. In 2022, there were new waves of COVID-19 infections that further disrupted supply chains, particularly in China, which had a zero-COVID policy.
  • China’s zero-COVID policy resulted in lockdowns in two of China’s largest manufacturing and commercial centres, Shenzhen and Shanghai. Ports in these cities remained open, but the lockdowns disrupted manufacturing, trucking and logistics operations. Carriers had to reroute via alternate ports such as Ningbo. By. By mid-2022, prices as measured by the Shanghai container freight index (SCFI) were more than five times their 2019 level.  
  • Some regions managed the crisis better than others. For example, India strengthened connections and upgraded port capacity, including by launching dwarf-container train services. To take advantage of the congestion crisis in Sri Lanka, India is planning to deepen the channel of Cochin Port.

Freight rates

  • In December 2019, the SCFI stood at 898 points but by December 2020 was 2,455 and by in December 2021 was nearly 5,000.
  • In September 2019, on the Shanghai to New York (Asia – North America East Coast) route, the cost of shipping a large container per 40-foot-equivalent unit (TEU) was $2,325. In December 2020, the cost was $3,979, but by September 2021 it was $11,778.
  • On the China to South America (Santos) route in December 2019, the average rate per TEU was less than $2,000, but by December 2020 it had risen to $6,543 and by December 2021 was $10,196. Similarly, between December 2020 and December 2021, on the Shanghai to South Africa (Durban) route the rate per TEU increased from $2,521 to $6,450, and on the Shanghai to West Africa (Lagos) route from $5,291 to $7,452.
  • Overall freight levels for China’s export container transport market, including spot and contractual rates, are reflected in the broader China containerized freight index (CCFI). In December 2019, this stood at 848 points, but by December 2020 had reached 1,492 points, and by December 2021 was 3,265 points.
  • High freight rates on the East-West trade lanes attracted smaller regional container operators into the market, including the Chinese regional carriers CULines, BAL Container Line and Shanghai Jin Jiang Shipping (SJJ), which started ad hoc Asia-North America, Asia-Europe, Asia-South America or Asia-Australia services.
  • On the Asia-North America West Coast non-alliance services amounted to around 30% of all deployed capacity – higher than for 2M and THE Alliance shares and nearly as much as that of the Ocean Alliance. Non-alliance services were less significant on the Asia-North America East Coast trade route with only a 10% market share, and on the Asia-Europe routes with less than 1%.
  • Between 2020 and 2021, there were significant variations in freight rates across different routes including inter-regional routes. For the Asia-Europe leg, rates under contracts increased more than 70%, for the Asia-North America routes by 41%, and for the intra-Asia routes by 46%. These increases were driven by greater demand for container shipping and equipment, shortages of carrying capacity at Asian ports, temporary blockages of the Suez Canal and COVID-19-related disruption at major Chinese ports.  

Performance indicators

  • In 2021, the largest increase in container ship time spent in port was in Singapore at 29%, followed by Panama, Taiwan Province of China, Hong Kong China, Malaysia, France, the United States and China. Some transhipment freight was sent to Singapore without on-time connecting vessels to load the containers – disrupting shipping schedules and resulting in container shortages in other Asian economies.
  • Longer times in port reduced efficiency and shipping lines tried to avoid some congested ports. Some container ships for the China-EU trade lane have bypassed the refuelling hub in Singapore and bunkered in China to save time.
  • Viet Nam and Philippines recorded similar increases in the number of port calls, driven by strong growth of exports, mainly of electronic products. Viet Nam’s export volume increased by 15.6% in 2021, with mobile phones, computers and electronics accounting for a third of total exports. Philippines export volume increased by 5.3%, with electronic products forming two thirds of the total.
  • The first two years of the pandemic saw declines in port calls in Eastern Asia. Scheduled port calls increased in Eastern Asia to meet increased container shipping demand, but actual port calls declined due to serious port congestion and container shortages.
  • Among the 25 highest-ranked container ports, six were in Western Asia. For East Asia, reflecting congestion, the number of ports in the top 25 decreased from 15 to eight. 
  • In terms of cargo handling productivity of cape size dry bulk carriers, countries in South Asia (India) and Western Asia (Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates) had performances lower than the global average. For handy size dry bulk carriers, eight of the top 10 port call economies, including China and Japan, had average or higher cargo handling productivity. Indonesia was the exception in Asia.
  • Very large crude carriers (VLCC) showed different patterns. The highest-performing economies were in  Western Asia – Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – although Oman and Iraq had lower-than-average performances.
  • The Philippines Ports Authority is responsible for more than 400 trading ports and is offering concession opportunities supported by the global operational benchmarks available from the UNCTAD Port Performance Scorecard (PPS).
  • The PPS disaggregates data by gender and shows that the port industry as a whole is still dominated by men. In 2021, the median value for female participation in port management was 42% globally – and in Asia 60%.
  • In the second quarter of 2022, the four most-connected economies, with the highest scores on the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI), were in Asia – China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. China widened its lead as more vessel capacity had been redeployed to the United States trade routes.
  • Hong Kong China dropped from fifth to tenth between the second quarters of 2021 and 2022 as large container vessels serving the China-EU route started skipping this port. Japan faced the same problem earlier; its rank dropped from 11th to 21st between the first quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2022.
  • Asia and Oceania, as a whole continued their positive trends in their LSCI scores, led by China
  • Intra-regional shipping connections increased in Southern Asia – as India strengthened connections to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Jawaharlal Nehru port and Mundra port in India secured several additional connections facilitated by port expansions and upgrades including the launch of dwarf-container train services. Dwarf containers are lower by 660 millimetres than the normal containers, giving them a logistical edge in rural, semi-urban and urban roads.
  • Over the past decade the largest CO2 emission increases, 33% and 116%, have been for Liberia and Marshall Islands due to their substantial increases in registered vessel capacities. 
  • An UNCTAD-ESCAP study has assessed maritime connectivity in the Pacific small island developing states (SIDS), which have the world’s lowest liner connectivity. The best-connected states are the more populated ones with larger markets: Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Solomon Islands, which are regional transhipment bases. All the other states are among the world’s least connected, with Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru in the bottom 10.
  • Pacific SIDS have direct connections with a few partners, mainly in Asia and the Pacific. In 2021, the best-connected state was Fiji, with 23 direct connections, followed by Solomon Islands (19), Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Marshall Islands (18) and Vanuatu (16). For the other states, the number of direct connections varies between two (Tuvalu) and 12 (Micronesia and Kiribati). These direct connections are limited to the Asia-Pacific region and are mostly with other small states and territories.
  • A handful of states in Asia have direct connections with the Pacific SIDS: Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan Province of China, Hong Kong China and China. Direct connections with ASEAN states are less common.
  • China has recently become the main non-Pacific partner, with direct connections to 10 Pacific SIDS. The states gaining new direct links with non-Pacific countries between 2006 and 2021 were Kiribati, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. Over the same period, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu lost their direct connections with Europe, while Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu lost connections with South-East Asian countries.
  • Another major challenge is maintaining frequent vessel connections. The Pacific SIDS attract very few container ship port calls, indicating a low frequency of shipping services. However, there are important intra-regional differences. During the period 2018–2021, for the first half-year, Papua New Guinea on average received 392 vessel calls and Fiji 165. On the other end of the scale, during the first six months of 2019, Kiribati received only 21 container ship port calls, fewer than a vessel per week. The other Pacific SIDS had similar numbers, ranging from 38 to 48.

War in Ukraine

  • The war in Ukraine and related economic restrictions have affected the rail route between China and Europe. In 2021, as shippers were forced out of heavily congested ports and severely constrained air cargo, they turned to the China-Europe rail network where demand jumped more than 30% to nearly 1.5 million TEU. Cargo from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea that uses the trans-Siberian route is impeded. Meanwhile, new routes are emerging as potential alternatives such as the Middle corridor of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.

Vertical integration

  • The four largest carriers are now among the top 10 terminal operators, competing with port companies such as PSA, Hutchison and Dubai Ports. The two largest container terminal operators are associated with major shipping lines. In 2021 China COSCO Shipping had 13% of global throughput.
  • To safeguard shippers’ interests, competition authorities have investigated and ruled on competition issues on numerous occasions. As in: China – Fines for 14 carriers for misreporting freight rates. India – Fines for Japanese car carriers for sharing commercially sensitive information. Republic of Korea – Fines for 15 carriers for colluding on price fixing.

Sri Lanka: Transportation – Field Note 6

This series is based on the excerpts of the first report of the Sub-Committee in identifying short and medium-term programmes related Economic Stabilization of the National Council tabled in the Parliament by Patali Champika Ranawaka as the Chair.  Composition of the Sub-Committee in identifying short and medium-term programmes related Economic Stabilization of the National Council,  Patali Champika Ranawaka (Chair), Naseer Ahamed, Tiran Alles, Sisira Jayakody, Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan, Wajira Abeywardana, A. L. M. Athaullah, Rishad Bathiudeen, Palani Thigambaram, Mano Ganesan, M. Rameshwaran; all are members of the house representing various political parties – editors


  • It was observed that numerous strategies of transportation have been used in various economic and political periods since the British era (before 1948).During the colonial period, it was decided upon the economic advantage and administrative requirements. In the welfare and import substitution economic era, (1956-77) the public transportation was made state owned whereas private vehicles were discouraged. However, private transportation was encouraged after liberal economic reforms and a massive investment was made on the roads used for private transportation after year 2005. And also, it was identified that the transport strategy should be changed in the existing surge of economic situation.
  • It was observed that a capital expenditure of 0.1-1.64% of the Gross National Production (GNP) on the development of roads, a percentage of 0.17-0.25% on promoting railways (the highest value of the GNP- 0.55% in year 2011-UthuruWasanthaya/Northern Spring) and a percentage of 0.1-0.11% (0.23% in year 2016-the highest value of the GNP) on enhancing the fleet of buses have been allocated during year 2005 to year 2019.
  • According to the statistics of the year 2018, an amount of US $ 5350 million (27% of the import expenditure) has incurred on vehicles, fuel and spare parts whereas another amount of US $ 700 million (3.5% of the import expenditure) has incurred in the same year on raw materials and equipment needed for development of roads.
  • As per the statistics of the year 2018, when 52% of the passengers choose public transportation, about 48% have used private transportation. Approximately 12% of the total fuel expenditure has incurred on fuel expenses for public transportation.
  • It was reported that about 15% – 18% of import expenditure incurred on vehicle imports and fuel consumption could be saved if 25% of the passengers changed their mode of transport into public transportation.
  • Although a comparative increase in railway passenger transportation was reported, a reduction of passengers who use public and private bus services and taxi services was notably reported by 20%-25%.

Proposals and Solutions

  • It is proposed to reduce fuel consumption as the first strategy.
  • It is important to utilize market equipment such as import taxes,price formula etc. in order to address the demand and to improve and encourage transport modes with high fuel efficiency and no fuel consumption. And also, it is necessary to introduce tactics of damage control and ways to minimize the use of low efficient fuel and equipment.
  • It is proposed to devise a quality public transportation as the second strategy.
  • It is necessary to introduce policies in which train, bus, taxi and van services are prioritized.
  • And also, it is recommended to build up a digitalized platform of public and private transport services (mobility as a service-mass). In order to do that, a new integrated programme should be arranged reviewing the platform which is currently used by institutions such as Uber, Pickme etc. and the proposed programme put forward by “Sahasara” initiative.
  • Digitalizing the transport facility by means of a unique digital card or mobile phone connected device for trains, buses, office and school vans, taxis and taxi facilitationservices (Uber, Pickme etc) for the convenience of the passengers.
  • Making Sri Lanka a “Transport and Services Hub” for smart industries and services (Industrial Revolution 4.0). Drafting laws, procurement processes and human resource development programmes pertaining to that and devising a proper integrated digitalization process of public and private transport services used for passenger transportation and lorries and trains used for freight.
  • The frequent use of trains for transportation of goods, giving priority in supplying fuel, charging of fees and travelling on the road for vehicles used to transport more than 8 passengers.
  • Removing weaknesses and bottlenecks identified in railway signal systems and railways within a year.
  • Making a proper investment on purchasing new low floor buses and railway locomotives and also, lifting out restrictions imposed on spare parts.
  • Introducing flexible time slots for government offices, private offices and schools following a proper pilot project.
  • Opening the expressways for Lorries, trucks and buses with a minimum charging fee (For transportation of goods and passenger transportation).

Source: Sri Lanka Parliament


Inside Story:  Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka – Part 2


In his response to our first part of this series, Prof. A. Rameez, Vice Chancellor, Professor in Sociology, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Oluvil, has said the following in an email. “As I was engaged in an official duty over the last two days, I couldn’t write to you. I know that you have published an article referring to my academic integrity in your website yesterday. You could have sought my clarification on the contents of the article before being published in your website. I just wonder who this investigative journalist is. However, many people are in the pursuit of tarnishing the image of University in the public domain due to various reasons. Hence, he may also have some ulterior motives behind his move. Having said that, I am now consulting people to legally approach this matter.”

Editor’s Note: As far as ethical journalism is concerned, it is our responsibility to publish his response in full without any redactions, stressing that the Vice-Chancellor must have known that questioning the author’s details was indecent. However, we as the editorial board wish to emphasize again that Sri Lanka Guardian always welcome responses from the named parties in this part of the series as well.

Rogue Academics’ Behavioral Intension to Recycle Research Fraudulence: A Study of a duplicate publication of plagiarism by Professor A. Rameez, the Vice Chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka

Less important quote for the sake of looking fancy: “Here he used his talents for deviousness and vitriol in a more socially acceptable way, successfully conducting a major campaign against counterfeiting, even sending several men to their death on the gallows” – Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time.

In part one of this series, the readers were presented with some solid evidence for some serious research fraudulences committed by the current Vice Chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (SEUSL). Now that we have the audience sufficiently oriented, we will proceed on to gradually expose more and more of the research fraudulences and academic malpractices that are plaguing this institution of higher education, thanks to the likes of intellectual conmen like A. Rameez.

The recent article covered the plagiarism contained in the two publications below by A. Rameez:

  1. Rameez, A., M. Riswan, and N. Lumna. “Ageing and health seeking behaviour: a medical sociological approach to Nintavur divisional secretariat, Sri Lanka.” (2015).
  2. Rameez, A. “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis.” (2016).

In this article we focus on some further findings on research fraudulence by A. Rameez, who is serving as a professor in sociology since 2019 and the vice chancellor of SEUSL since 2021.

Evidence in Summary:

  • A. Rameez published in 2016 part of his M.Phil. research conducted until 2010. This 9-page long publication text contained stolen text for three pages.
  • A. Rameez re-published the same 2016 article, a 100% copy, in a different journal with the same stolen content.

A. Rameez, being the sole author, has published in 2019 an article in Volume 7 Issue No. 1 of the print-only journal “Journal ofClassical Thamizh: A Quarterly International Multilateral Thamizh Journal (Arts & Humanities)” (Tamil name: செம்மொழித் தமிழ்: பன்னாட்டுப் பன்முகத் தமிழ் காலாண்டு ஆய்விதழ் (கலை & மனிதவியல்)) (ISSN: 2321-0737). The title of the article, not-so-surprisingly for us at this stage of our understanding on the workings of academically degenerate small-brains, is “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis”. Interestingly, this 12 pages long article by A. Rameez is the only English-language article in this entire Classical Thamizh journal issue with 278 pages. On a different note, the publisher’s note for authors on their website (link requires authors to submit content for 7 pages minimum for each article, yet there exist articles that are only 3 pages long – a possible indication on the compromising nature of the journal itself. This article, or the version-with-zero-changes to be precise, has been published in 2019, about three years after the item 2 covered in our previous article was published. It is worthwhile noting that the content of this article can be considered as a publication of a part of his research conducted for his M.Phil. degree – a degree he was granted after his claims for years-long research study following his defense of a dissertation written based on his research work. It is also interesting to note that A. Rameez published the item 2 covered in our previous article after about 5 years. The relevant timeline is summarized below:

  • 2010: A. Rameez graduates with M.Phil. after defending his dissertation
  • 2016: A. Rameez publishes an article titled “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis” in KALAM -International Research Journal
  • 2019: A. Rameez publishes an article titled “Disasters and social capital in Sri Lanka: a conceptual and theoretical analysis” in Journal of Classical Thamizh: A Quarterly International Multilateral Thamizh Journal (Arts & Humanities)

We find that the KALAM version of the article on social capital is hosted by the electronic repository of SEUSL libraries – link here (*). However, the Classical Tamil version of the same article is not included in the SEUSL e-repository, nor is it to be found in the Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles of A. Rameez. However, we get to notice it in the Curriculum Vitae posted at the Faculty of Arts and Culture webpage of SEUSL – link here ( This publication is listed as “Rameez, A. (2019). Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis, Classical Thamizh, Vol.07(01): 319-330, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.” in the CV of A. Rameez.

In conclusion we now have evidence for what’s called ‘self-plagiarism’ in the language employed by UGC to describe various forms of plagiarism; or simply duplicate publication. Of interest is the fact that A. Rameez chose to duplicate-publish an article with three pages of raw plagiarized material! Even more interesting is that he had to publicize his plagiarism when publishing part of his research carried out for his postgraduate degree at two different points in time, once when it was 5 years past his M.Phil. graduation and once again when it was 9 years after his M.Phil. graduation – an evidence for sustained academic bankruptcy and persistent dishonesty of this rogue academic. For those either with a lack of capability to discern such simple mischief or with other forms of inexpressible guilt for similar academic offenses, we feel that there is an explicit need to restate here that the 2019 version of A. Rameez’s publication on Social Capital is a 100% copy of his 2016 version and that both of them contain three-pages-long plagiarized material from one single source (Hazleton & Kennan, 2000) in addition to other plagiarized content.

Is it that A. Rameez had already forgotten that he got his manuscript on social capital already published in the journal KALAM when he thought of publishing his thesis-inspired paper in Classical Thamizh in year 2019? Or was it something else? Perhaps a rush for publications before submitting his application/ self-evaluation-report for professorship in 2019? Or is it that A. Rameez considers that a publication in the Tamilnadu-based print-only journal would be looked at favorably than the version that appeared in the journal run by their own faculty? Rumor has it that A. Rameez got about 07 research articles published in the year 2019 alone by the publishing company of the journal Classical Thamizh, Raja Publications – we can get this count verified if and when SEUSL, a public authority currently headed by A. Rameez with A. Rameez himself functioning as the Designated Officer for Information, gets an opportunity in future to release the information on the list of publications attached along with his application for professorship. One wonders how much it costs to get published in the journal Classical Thamizh, how long it takes to get an article published there, what are the scrutinizing practices – including check for plagiarism – employed by the editors and finally how much of possibly reimbursed public funds had been effectively flushed out of the country as foreign currency in 2019 by A. Rameez!

Acts of self-plagiarizing duplicate publication of articles composed of content stolen from other published scholars can only be done by a Research Fraud who doesn’t have any sort of inhibition for intellectual theft and any sense of fear for losing honor. This leading SEUSL academician in sociology and a self-appointed apostle of research and publication must have well been aware that the Classical Thamizh version of his publication was only going to be available as a printed material and not on the internet (publisher’s website here: whilst the KALAM version of his publication was to remain in the e-repository of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (, thereby ruling out the possibility for any detection of his act of plagiarism using contemporary software solutions.

The figures below show the 2019 version of the print-only publication by A. Rameez, the content of which once belonged to the copyrighted journal KALAM.


Sri Lanka: Energy–Field Note 5

This series is based on the excerpts of the first report of the Sub-Committee in identifying short and medium-term programmes related Economic Stabilization of the National Council tabled in the Parliament by Patali Champika Ranawaka as the Chair.  Composition of the Sub-Committee in identifying short and medium-term programmes related Economic Stabilization of the National Council,  Patali Champika Ranawaka (Chair), Naseer Ahamed, Tiran Alles, Sisira Jayakody, Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan, Wajira Abeywardana, A. L. M. Athaullah, Rishad Bathiudeen, Palani Thigambaram, Mano Ganesan, M. Rameshwaran; all are members of the house representing various political parties – editors


  • It was identified that the economic growth of Sri Lanka and the demand for and supply of energy (oil, coal, gas and renewable energy) are inter-connected with one another.
  • It was also identified that any policy related to energy should be considered in conjunction with the current economic bankruptcy of Sri Lanka, the shortage of and the difficulty in drawing foreign exchange and the policies of similar countries that compete with Sri Lanka for exports and economic factors, etc.
  • It was emphasized that the factors namely energy security and self-sufficiency in energy, enhancing energy efficiency, managing the demand, new technological and management strategies of saving energy, tariff system and the price of energy should be jointly considered.
  • It was further identified that an administrative, managerial and financial restructuring of the state-owned energy sector institutions such as the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Lanka Electricity Company (LECO), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Ltd and Litro Gas Company is essential.
  • It was identified that there has been a significant decrease in the consumption of all forms of energy (fuel, electricity, gas), and factors such as the economic collapse, high prices and the limited supply has contributed to this situation.

Proposals and Solutions

  • As medium-term measures, it is proposed to acquire minimum seismic data (2D) systems for the petroleum resources development blocks (20 core blocks, 890 sub-blocks) that have been identified at present in the Sri Lankan coast, to provide opportunities to the producers (upstream
  • development) for the blocks of which data are already available, to obtain an appropriate financial model for the country, to develop the legal framework for that, and to commence an accelerated project (three-year) to supply natural gas to the gas turbines of the Ceylon Electricity Board.
  • It is proposed to declare an Energy Emergency.
  • Considering that Sri Lanka is not currently accountable internationally for carbon emissions (considering Sri Lanka’s per capita carbon emission to be 0.95 metric tons, and considering the per capita carbon credits as 2.1 metric tons according to the 2007 International Convention on Carbon Credits), and considering both the facts that Sri Lanka is a country that is seriously affected by the weather and climate changes caused by international emissions and that Sri Lanka is an island nation, it is proposed to immediately redevelop practically the 2030 carbon emission targets. In so doing, the policies should be decided on taking into consideration the composition of primary energy that affects the overall emission rather than electricity, which is a secondary energy.
  • To implement the following measures through an accelerated programme that runs up to year 2026:
  • Encouraging high-quality fuel and electricity consumers for self-sufficient energy supplies.
  • Granting permission immediately for power supply which overlaps between the CEB transmission space (2000 MW) and the 1600 MW licensed by the Sri Lanka Renewable Energy Authority. Immediate increasing of the existing rooftop solar power supply of 690 MW by further 600 MW.
  • Publicizing the renewable energy sources, geographical zones and evacuation brands and making public aware of them
  • Expediting the provision of renewable energy storage facilities (battery systems, water pump house storages), regularizing the time-varying tariff system and expediting the provision of meters required for that in order to control the night-time demand.
  • Providing a data platform for the private sector to sell and export old appliances and to import new appliances under the theme “new equipment in place of the old” in order to promote energy saving appliances (new bulbs, home appliances, machines etc.)
  • Under the same strategy described above, providing a platform for the private sector to convert the motor cars that use fuel oils into electric cars and hybrid cars.
  • Allowing the families of Sri Lankan migrant workers who send remittances to use a portion of their remittances to install solar panel battery systems and accessories for their homes and the homes of their family members.
  • Providing space for the private sector to explore the potential for power evacuation through wind power and solar power, which are not currently extractable, and for producing hydrogen fuel.
  • Publicizing the formula of electricity charges, updating the fuel price and the electricity bill once in every month and six months respectively. Determining the water bill and transport charges in accordance with that.
  • Amalgamating the Ceylon Electricity Board and its affiliated institutions and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and its affiliated institutions which is a part of the fuel billing system for increasing the technical and financial efficiency of these institutions having taken into consideration the cost for employees’ salaries and other expenses.
  • Introducing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on electricity losses, oil transmission losses, power outages and downtime, financial discipline in the power sector and entering into collective agreements with employees.

Short term proposals

  • Appointing an Energy Manager from employees of every state institution and saving energy costs by 10%.
  • Deploying 5% of biofuel which is properly formulated for Puttalam power plant.
  • Operating the refinery continuously and using crude oil that can give maximum contribution to CEB fuel requirement, petrol, diesel, naphtha, kerosene and gas requirement. Recommending the possibility of using Octane 87, 90, 92 again in suitable vehicles after a formal, quick and scientific test considering it as an emergency situation and determining the market price accordingly.
  • Increasing the supply of diesel and reducing the price of diesel, which is commonly used for industrial agriculture, fishing and public transportation (as in the train era). Promoting the provision of online services and using digital market equipments in general to manage traffic needs.
  • Utilizing the additional 150 MW for night peak by implementing Uma Oya project.

Source: Sri Lanka Parliament

Ceylon Chamber makes clarion call for independence of Central Bank

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is firmly of the view that institutions like the Central Bank of Sri Lanka should be allowed to function independently in performing its mandate as in most other countries, particularly at this stage when the country is grappling with a major economic crisis. We emphasize the need to reintroduce the Central Bank Act which was proposed in 2018 when the current President was Prime Minister to enable an independent Central Bank, prioritize price stability and limit the monetization of the fiscal deficit.

The Ceylon Chamber reiterates the need for a strong and independent Central Bank which is paramount in driving Sri Lanka’s economic revival. Over the decades, Sri Lanka has been hampered by weak institutions and poor governance that has deteriorated the efficiency of the public sector and led to sub-optimal policymaking on the economic front. The present plight of the country has been attributed by many experts to weak institutions that have not been able to perform their role in line with expectations due to excessive political interference. The success of the journey taken on by the Government to move out of the current debacle with the support of development partners and the international community will undoubtedly rest on the commitment it demonstrates towards better governance and adoption of best practice.

The Chamber recently published a set of proposals to ensure an independent, productive and efficient public service. These proposals are aimed to ensure formal checks and balances within the public sector, and improve efficiency in order to transformthe public sector into a people centric arm of the state.It is vital that proposals such as these are implemented so that national development can be accelerated through efficient and independent service delivery by the Government.

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