COLOMBO, Sri Lanka—The Sri Lankan government has granted companies with high export business permission to keep manufacturing in the midst of a general COVID-19-induced lockdown, a decision that allows certain rubber-related companies such as Global Rubber Industries (Pvt.) Ltd. to remain open.
This exemption—together with a declaration that the island nation's natural rubber industry is "essential" to the country's economy—means selected tire producers are able to keep operating, according to GRI, which claims it's been ahead of other companies in the industry with "proactive and far-sighted" policies.
By developing a COVID-19 operating procedure "well above" that required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Sri Lankan government, along with worker training, GRI was able to instill a "strong sense of responsibility with each employee," Mahesha Ranasoma, CEO of GRI, said.
GRI makes agricultural and materials-handling tires at two plants in Sri Lanka, according to Rubber & Plastics News data, including one dedicated to radials in Badalgama, in western Sri Lanka, that opened in 2018.
In a statement, GRI Managing Director Praphash Subasinghe stressed that the company's tires are essential to the food, agriculture and logistics industries.
"GRI is privileged to have this pivotal role in the world's food supply chain," he said, "and are committed rise up to the needs of our customers, our country and our world."
In North America, the tire maker is represented by GRI Tires Inc. of Indianapolis. It has additional distribution outlets in Indiana and Kentucky.
There are at least six other tire makers of note in Sri Lanka, but their status under these operating conditions is unknown.