The Colombo Tea Auction is the world’s largest single-origin tea auction held every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. On average about 6 million kilograms of Ceylon tea is sold each week.
The Covid disaster had a significant impact on all sectors of Sri Lanka and more or less severely affected the tea industry as well. The pandemic effect was such that finally even the Colombo tea auction had to be cancelled for 2 weeks. The economic impact was felt by tea growers, brokers, as well as tea plantation workers.
Due to the urgent need to re-launch the tea auction, Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) have teamed up with local Microsoft partners, CICRA Solutions, to move towards faster digital alternatives. This was an effective alternative to protect the 150- year-old tea industry and the livelihoods of nearly two million people. This kept buyers and sellers socially isolated so that they could bid outside the auction rooms from their own home or workplace.
The weekly multi-million dollar tea auction used to be held in three rooms over two days with hundreds of brokers and buyers, but the conversion to E-auction allowed for safe selling and buying of tea. Due to the success of this, the leadership of our Managing Director, Mr. Jayantha Karunaratne who is the current Chairman of the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association was highly commended.
Another special moment in this historic milestone is that Imperial Tea Exports was the very first to successfully bid at the e-auction platform and therefore we had the honor of purchasing the first stock of tea at the first E- auction in the history of the tea industry.