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 APL collaborates with Sri Lanka’s Mahapola Training
 Institute  on sea-farer training


International shipping line APL has agreed with Sri Lanka Port Authority’s (SLPA) Mahapola Training Institute (MPTI) to train 20 new seafarers from the Institute annually onboard its ships. 

MPTI, the training arm of SLPA, commenced Cadet Officer training in 2009 with a view to meeting the growing demand for deck officers and to promoting sea-faring employment opportunities among young aspiring Sri Lankans. The three year full time course, which receives the support of the Ministry of Ports and Highways, Institute of Merchant Shipping and Ceylon Shipping Corporation, enrolls twenty Marine Cadet Officers each year and includes intensive theoretical as well as practical hands on training. The MPTI of SLPA migrated in November 2010 to ISO 9001/2008 Quality Management System, an essential certification for conducting IMO/STCW training programs for seafarers. 

APL is the world’s sixth largest container shipping line which announced a revenue of USD 8.3 billion in 2010. APL operates more than 80 weekly services reaching over 25,000 locations in 140 countries. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), based in Singapore, a global transportation and Logistics Company engaged in shipping and related businesses.

APL had introduced many industry firsts, the latest announced recently, being the satellite tracking of container temperatures, which provides a unique origin-to-destination visibility and protection facilities. This feature called SMARTemp™, whilst heralding a new era for reefer shipping, eliminates costly and time-consuming processes and offers unrivalled time, cost and quality advantages to shippers of products which have zero tolerance for supply chain downtime. APL has also appointed a permanent representative to the Private Sector Consultative Group of the World Customs Organization.

The signing of the agreement took place on the 4th of April, 2011 by APL President Eng Aik Meng, with officials from SLPA and the Ministry of Ports and Highways in Colombo, presided by the Hon. Dy. Minister of Ports and Highways, Rohitha Abegunawardhane.

 “This initiative demonstrates APL’s commitment to the Sri Lankan maritime community,” said APL President, Eng Aik Meng. “It enables us to tap into the country’s pool of capable and well-qualified graduates from the Institute.”  

The agreement also extends to close collaboration between APL and SLPA in areas of maritime education, training, management and development of seafarers. Together with the Director General for Merchant Shipping in Sri Lanka, the parties aim to produce qualified high caliber maritime officers and engineers for service onboard merchant vessels. 

APL and the SLPA will share technical and professional know-how in developing seagoing cadets and officers. It will help promote shipboard employment and seafaring careers to aspiring Sri Lankans. Capt. Lee Chee Seong, APL’s Director of Fleet Personnel was also present at the signing ceremony. 

Dr. Priyath B.  Wickrama, the Chairman of SLPA who was a signatory to the agreement said, “being an engineer myself brings me great pleasure and honour to be a part of the partnership as of now the SLPA has embarked on seafarer training in addition to our core area of port operations, which places SLPA on the world map as a benefactor on top of its current logistic hub status”. 

Commenting at the occasion, Managing Director of SLPA, Capt. Nihal Keppetipola said, “I also started my career as a Cadet Officer and I got my training on a vessel owned by the Ceylon Shipping Corporation a long time ago and this helping hand given by APL will certainly help Sri Lanka revive that lost status of seafarer training prevailed decades ago”. 

“This synergy is sure to bring about a win-win situation for both parties and it exemplifies the prominence established by SLPA in the international maritime sector”. He further said. 

Director Merchant Shipping, Mr. Shantha Weerakoon a signatory to the agreement, commented “We have ample untapped talent in Sri Lanka and this is a very great opportunity for Sri Lankan youth to make use of, to show their professionalism to the world as able and skilled seafarers”.  

A commemorative plaque was exchanged between Hon. Dy. Minister of Ports and Highways, Rohitha Abegunawardhane and APL President Eng Aik Meng to mark the occasion.  

Mrs.Sujatha Cooray - Secretary to the Ministry of Port and Highways, Mr. Shantha Weerakoon – Director Merchant Shipping, Dr. Priyath B.Wickarama - Chairman of SLPA, Capt.Nihal Keppetipola - Managing Director of SLPA, Mr.Norman Weerarathne - Additional Managing Director of SLPA,  Mr.  Arthur Senanayake – Chairman APL Sri Lanka and Mr. Abraham Elias - Managing Director APL Sri Lanka together with a number of high ranking officers from APL attended the occasion.

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