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Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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North Channel to be opened for bigger vessels

WITH Sri Lanka's export's poised to achieve a thousand billion in export earnings in the near future, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority will invest Rs. 2 billion to dredge the North Channel to 13m and open the Channel for bigger vessels in order to ease traffic congestion and reduce waiting time for ships entering and leaving the port.

The project funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will also upgrade the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) and study the enhancement of container handling capacity at JCT and UCT making the Port as the hub of South Asia, said the Director for the National Council For Economic Development(NCED) Rohantha Athukorala.

All vessels had to use the main channel for entry and exit as North Channel at a depth of 11.0m does not permit the passage of large draft container ships. The North Channel was navigable only for vessels with a draft of less than 9.5m and is a major bottle neck for the future growth of container traffic.

The first part of the project of dredging to 13m and opening the North Channel of the port for bigger vessels in order to ease traffic congestion, reduce waiting time for ships entering and leaving the port, which consequently enhances the navigation facility has already been launched.

'This initiative will be in line with the Global trends of top ports in the world' said Athukorala. The North Channel being dredged to 13.0m will also alleviate possible ship traffic congestion in the port in future.

Another key objective of the Rs.2 Billion investment is the threat of larger container vessels by passing Colombo due to this constraint which now will be avoided.

This puts Sri Lanka on a stronger footing to claim to be a leading shipping centre and mega transshipment hub of South Asia.

The Rs. 2 billion investment is being utilised for dredging of the North Channel and JCT.

This project will make the Colombo Port cater to mega container ships, driving productivity up with the turnaround time reducing and waiting time dropping which is in line with the developments in the top ports in the world.

The next phase of the project is the enhancing of storage capacity and safety of container handling of the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) 1 and 2 which will be completed by the end of 2006.
(DN - 20051105)

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