Within two years of the launch in India in 2012, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (better known as WISTA), Ms. Sanjam Sahi Gupta, its Founder President, has moved fast to spread WISTA to the Indian sub continent. Her first significant effort in this direction has been the launch of WISTA in the neighboring country, Sri Lanka on 3rd July, 2014.
To commemorate the occasion WISTA hosted a gala program at the Hilton Residencies Colombo amidst a large and distinguished gathering that included the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Chairmen & Chairpersons of leading Public and Private Sector Organizations and Institutes.
Special Guests gracing the occasion were Founder Member and President of WISTA India, Ms. Sanjam Sahi Gupta and Founder Member and Joint Secretary of WISTA India, Ms. Sumi Sahi.
They presented a plaque to Ms. Shehara Jayawardana, the President WISTA Sri Lanka on this occasion and was felicitated as well.
WISTA Sri Lanka will function under the Presidency of Ms. Shehara Jayawardana, and consists of a 20 member committee which, to date, has been successful in attracting 49 eminent ladies from shipping and shipping related industries to join as members.
The event commenced with a speech by President Ms.Shehara Jayawardana,who spoke about her plans for WISTA in Sri Lanka. It was followed by a speech by WISTA India President Sanjam who praised Shehara for the good work and spoke on the importance of encouraging young talent to join the industry and having a platform for the ladies in the maritime trade.
In her key note address, Mrs. Indrani Sugathadasa, Chairperson of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka, commended the women of Sri Lanka who have already ventured into employment in all spheres, and emphasized that women should take a more active role in the future as well.
A very informative and thought provoking panel discussion was held on the topic of “How to sustain and reach shipping excellence by promoting and strengthening social, economic and gender balance” with the participation of four eminent personalities in the Shipping Industry.
The Panel comprised Mrs. Manouri de Silva, the first female Fellow of the ICS Branch in Sri Lanka and first female General Manager of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation; Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Chairman/CEO of Aitken Spence Maritime Logistics & Cargo and Director - Aitken Spence PLC, and a former Chairman/CEO of Sri Lanka Ports Authority; Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Director of Jaya Container Terminals Ltd., [JCT Ltd.,] South Asia Gateway Terminals [SAGT], Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd., [CICT] and Magampura Port Management Company (Private) Ltd., and Past President of Nautical Institute of UK (Sri Lanka Branch) and Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport and Mrs. Sanjam Sahi Gupta, Founder Member & President of WISTA India.
The highlight of the evening was the felicitation of women who have played a vital role in developing the woman’s role in the Sri Lankan Shipping Industry which is known to be predominantly male.
Three eminent females in the fields of Entrepreneurship, Public Sector Service and Training & Development were felicitated.
The Felicitation Award for Entrepreneurship was given to Mrs. Norma Nanayakkara, an astute entrepreneur and well respected in the shipping field.
The Award for Public Sector Service was given to Mrs. Sriyani Wanniarachchi, Director – Finance of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. She is a Graduate, Associate Member and Fellow Member of ICASL.
The Award for Training & Development was made to Mrs. Anoma Ranasinghe, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (UK), Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) & a member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries & Administrators (UK). She is also a visiting Lecturer at the University of Colombo and represents many professional bodies in Sri Lanka.
Showing his support for WISTA , Capt. Nihal Keppetipola MD of Sri Lankan Ports Authority invited Sanjam and Sumi for a personal tour to Colombo port where he elaborated on Sri Lanka’s Maritime Agenda 2030. He emphasized that a Joint Approach should be Worked Out Between SL and India to Efficiently Connect Cargo to Their Destinations Where the Regional Ports will get an Effective Capital Circulation. He mentioned the Benefits of Connecting Indian Cargo Via Sri Lanka.