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Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Colombo Port thrusts forward to be best in region

The Chairman Sri Lanka Ports Authority Saliya Wickramasooriya said that once the Colombo South Harbour project is completed it would position as the best trans-shipment cargo handling hub in the region.

He said that at present a considerable quantum of trans-shipment cargo handles at the Colombo Port and the Colombo South harbour will mainly focus on handling of trans-shipment cargo in the Indian Subcontinent region. Currently, the Colombo Port handles only 15 per cent of trans-shipment cargo in the subcontinent alone, he said.

Wickramasuriya said that where the funding is concerned the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will fund for the commencement of the project and has pledged to provide Rs. 35 million as a loan. Tenders will be called internationally from December 26 and it is expected that awarding of the construction tender would take place by July 2007, the completion is expected in 2010.

The project upon completion by 2010, the capacity of the Colombo Port will be approximately 12 million (TEUs) compared to its existing annual maximum capacity of around 4 million TEUs, a figure that will soon be reached as the port achieves its three million TEU milestone within this year.

Each new terminal would be of 1200 metres length and will have 3 to 4 berths, depending on the operator's choice of configuration. According to Ports Authority Chairman the first terminal will become operational in 2010 and will have a nominal capacity of 2.4 million TEUs, with the others being brought online as the market demands it.

The new port basin will have a dredged depth of 18 metres, with an access channel depth of 20 metres. It is planned to incorporate the latest generation of yard planning and container handling equipment and techniques with the aim of maintaining berth and vessel productivity at class leading levels of performance, he said.

The Chairman Shippers Council Jayanath Perera said that the Council is extremely happy about the Government's move to start launching of expansion of the Colombo ports, which is a positive step for the development of the country.

He said that we, as shippers are extremely grateful to President Rajapaksa and the Minister of Shipping Mangala Samaraweera's enthusiasm to complete the project as early as possible.

Perera said that at present Colombo Port would not be able to accommodate big vessels, which are more than 12000 TEUs' and with this expansion project, country will be able to gain the hub status in the region.
(DN - 20061223)

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