No one wins alone

21 December 2020
ITC News

A budding exporter from Sri Lanka succeeds in delivering to international buyers

Exporting can be a complicated feat. Even more so, when a company just beginning to work towards the dream of going international, is faced with a global pandemic.

Thirty year-old Wikum Weerakkody, the Director of Hiru International FZE (Pvt) Ltd in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, realized that regulations and requirements had to be met in order to export Sri Lankan fruits, vegetables and spices to markets across Russia, Dubai and Egypt.

Understanding International Commercial Terms, preparing correct documentation, meeting international quality standards and resolving payment issues were just some of the challenging tasks that needed urgent attention from the company.

Registered just a few months ago in July 2020, the company lacked the capacity to get it right on its own, so they enrolled in the International Trade Centre’s SME Coaching Programme, where Wikum connected with an export management coach. Through online coaching sessions, Wikum built his capacity to fulfil international shipping and airfreight requirements. In addition, he learnt about export planning, customs and duties regulations and meeting international standards in product packaging, labelling and invoicing.

Hiru International FZE successfully exported 15 tons of spices to Dubai as its first international shipment. Improved negotiation skills with shipping and freight companies and obtaining insurance against risks helped the company save around USD 1,000 in the first consignment.

“The knowledge and the support received from my coach has been a 300%. The coaching programme was excellent. The support continued after completion of the programme, which enabled me to plan our next shipment of spices to Dubai,” Wikum said, elaborating the benefits of the training programme.

Wikum is now brimming with new ideas for exploring the African market and obtaining the required certification to cater to European markets.

EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance

In partnership with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the International Trade Centre carried out the coaching programme within the framework of the EU – Sri Lanka Trade Related Assistance project. Funded by the European Union (EU), the project is contributing to inclusive trade-led growth and regional integration. It also aims to increase the trade competitiveness of Sri Lankan small and medium-sized enterprises in regional and EU markets.