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Megaport initiative programme in Colombo port

Megaport initiative through the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration of the United States of America will be operational on a 24 hour basis in the Port of Colombo thus making it the first to embark on such a program in the South East Asian Region.

This is a programme to deter the illicit trafficking in nuclear and radio active material.

The Port of Colombo is considered the "Hub of South Asia" with shipments largely coming and going to/from South Asia, East Africa, Middle East and Southern Asian countries. In addition, shipments destined for Europe and the United States originate or transit here.

Approximately 4,000 ships per year arrive at and apart from the Port of Colombo.

In 2003, the Port of Colombo ranked 32nd in the World of container traffic, with 89,336 twenty foot-equivalent units (TEU) shipped directly to the United States.

The aim of the Megaports programme is to deploy radiation detecting systems at the world's most important sea ports as part of global effort to interdict illicit movements of nuclear materials without impending commerce or reducing the competitiveness of participating ports and nation.

A key element of radiation detection system will be the skill, knowledge and dedication of those who operate the equipment and implement the screening and inspection procedures.

The path to sustainability of the system as a whole is through a progression of enabling training activities and products that incorporate the necessary skill sets, including operational procedures, alarm response procedures and equipment field service.

During his visits to the U.S.A. Minister of Ports, Aviation and Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera insisted the necessity of such an accurate and precise container security system at the Colombo Port and its importance on the region's transshipment security, took initiative to get CSI implemented at the Port of Colombo.

The Dept. of Energy of USA through its National Nuclear Security Administration agreed to provide the Ministry of Ports and Aviation technical assistance in the form of equipment and materials, as well as training and services for the use at the Port of Colombo, for the purpose of detecting and interdicting nuclear materials and other radioactive material including plutonium, uranium, enriched to 20% or more in the isotope U 235 and radioactive sources suitable for the use in radiological dispersal devices.

This initiative provides significant measures of security for the participating port as well as for the United States and global trading supply chain. Sea ports participating in the CSI will be able to handle containerized cargo far sooner facilitating the movement of legitimate trade while intercepting containers that may pose threat for security as early as possible.

Approximately 65% of our garments are exported to USA as a single country. Colombo being a CSI port resulting in advantages to our export industry.
(DN - 20060126)

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