Sri Lankan exporters hit

Colombo, July 1:

Sri Lankan exporters are being squeezed as fewer container ships heading west call into Colombo, with global shipping lines moving more business to India and its booming economy.

Shipping costs have soared nearly $600 for a standard 20-foot container over the past six months as a result, compounding problems for Sri Lankan expor-ters who compete on price, innovation and time with th-eir large northern neighbour.

“Some of the bigger shipping lines have changed their schedules over the past six months and the crisis is affecting exports of garments, tea, rubber and coir (coconut fibre),” said Sri Lanka Shipper’s Council chairman Jayanath Perera.

Clothing, which accounts for more than half of the island’s near seven billion dollar export trade, is especially feeling the heat as exporters face tight deadlines.