Inchcape is now owned by Istithmar PJSC, an investment house in the United Arab Emirates, focusing on private equity, real estate and other alternative investments.
Sri Lanka carries 31,000 vessels a year in the east-west trade route, which connects the major industrial centres of North America, Western Europe, and Asia.
'This joint venture brings to the table the globally uniform service standard of Inchcape together with the local strength and assets of the John Keells group, which will collectively be able to deliver a superior value proposition to customers,' said Inchcape's South Asia general manager Ravi Ramachandran.
Inchcape's commercial manager for the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, Koushik Chakraborty highlighted that a major challenge for vessels traversing this passage is securing high-quality bunker fuel at competitive prices with minimal route deviation and time-definite delivery.
'Our scale allows us to offer sharp prices and guaranteed time-definite delivery to facilitate fast turnaround. This provides a significant saving to the ships versus many other international ports where bunkers are taken at anchorage or alongside.' said Mr Chakraborty.
A significant issue for ship operators during the Covid crisis has been ensuring crew changes are done safely and securely, with Sri Lanka a vital location for switching crews.
Said Mr Ramachandran: 'Other than the Coronavirus-induced local port restrictions, the rapidly changing regulations, and processes have made crew logistics challenging in most ports of South Asia,'
'Inchcape has been in the forefront of providing timely assistance to the global maritime community with a structured crew change programme,' said Mr Ramachandran.
'Inchcape Sri Lanka??s local expertise, relationship with authorities, and a strong understanding of processes and procedures gives us the ability to offer high-quality fully compliant agency services that gives peace of mind to customers.' said Mr Ramachandran.