The paradise isle in the Indian Ocean: Sri Lanka’s economy rapidly expanded in the 1980s, largely due to the country moving to an open economic environment, resulting in a huge growth in the nation’s import and export sectors. Large infrastructure projects got under way, the manufacturing sector saw raw materials arriving from overseas and quality finished products being manufactured and exported to various parts of the world in large quantities. New export markets opened up for the world renowned Sri Lankan Tea better known as “Ceylon Tea”, Garments were produced for various internationally renowned brand names worldwide, rubber, fiber and other products in value added form too moved in large scale and import products such as food items, electronics and intermediary goods relied heavily on the movement of goods, through air and sea gateways all the way through countries world over.
With the rapid expansion in international trade saw the growing need for efficient supply chain solution. In this backdrop, the freight forwarding and logistics industry in Sri Lanka took on a vital and active role. The speed of its expansion created intense competition as well as haphazard growth. Many felt the industry needed direction, as the industry was unregulated and had no controlling body to ensure freight forwarders operated according to international standards. To confront the problems facing the industry at this time, a group of international freight forwarders gathered together and finally decided to form an association that would benefit the entire sector.
Based on a proposal for the formation of a freight forwarders’ association, in 1981, the Sri Lanka Logistics & Freight Forwarders Association (SLFFA) was officially inaugurated.