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Monday, January 27, 2020
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 Ports provide 235,000 new jobs


More than 25,000 direct employment opportunities and 200,000 indirect employment will be generated within the next five years in the ports and shipping sector, Ports Authority Chairman Dr Priyath Wickrama said.

Addressing the media at the Mass Media and Information Ministry in Colombo yesterday, he said five port development projects are being carried out.

From 2005 the Government has spent US $ 1.7 billion on port development projects, he added.

The Colombo, Hambantota, Galle, Trincomalee and Oluvil ports development projects are in full swing, he said.

With the rapid development of the ports sector foreign investors are keen to invest in Sri Lanka in cement grinding, cement bagging, fertiliser bagging, vehicle assembling, operation of LP Gas and much more.

Already 24 foreign investors have applied for approval to commence their port related businesses, Dr Wickrama said.

The Government has identified the need to expand the Colombo port to cater to the increasing demand for services in the international shipping industry. Under the expansion project a 6.83 kilometre long breakwater is being constructed, Dr Wickrama said.

A crude oil pipe line will also be constructed and dredging of a new harbour basin will be undertaken. A navigation channel will also be completed.

Terminals and other related services will also be established.

“The Colombo Port has reached its maximum capacity for all types of cargo by now.

“The Government has to expand the harbour to meet the increasing demand,” Dr Wickrama said.

“Around 286 hectares of sea area will be filled up and it will change the Sri Lanka map. After the completion of the development program the container handling capacity will increase from 4.5 million to 12 million DWT vessels per annum” the Chairman said.

The Hambantota port project is also progressing satisfactorily. It is hoped to complete even earlier than the scheduled date. This port will be the biggest service and industrial port in the country since it is closest to the international maritime route. It is the nearest point to the main shipping route that connects East and West, the Chairman added. In addition Galle, Trincomalee and Oluvil port development projects are being carried out.

Under the Mahinda Chinthana Nil Ahasa Jayaganimu several projects on airport development are also being carried out. The second international airport is being constructed at Mattala, Hambantota. The runaway which is being constructed will be large enough to operate even the ever largest aircraft in the world A380. With the commencement of the operation around 10,000 direct employment opportunities and a large number of indirect employment will be generated, International Relations Manager of Sri Lankan Airline Srimanthaka Senanayake said. Mihin Lanka is earning a slight profit from last December despite certain grand scale airlines also running at a loss, Mihin Lanka Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena said.

Mihin Lanka has planned to add another aeroplane to its fleet within the next few months.

“At present Mihin Lanka operates to five destinations and this will be increased to ten in due course. Steps have been taken to increase the profit margin while implementing new income generation methods” Chandrasena added.

As a result of the ongoing development projects in the aviation sector, within next five year period both Sri Lankan and Mihin Air will carry more than 55 per cent of incoming and outgoing air passengers, the Secretary of Ports and Aviation Ranjith de Silva said.

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