Colombo Port Expansion Project has been launched to increase container transshipment capabilities in Colombo Port. With the completion of 3 terminals it is expected to increase the capacity of Colombo port up to 13 Million to cater to the increasing demand of services in the international shipping industry, said Dr Priyath B.Wickrama, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
Addressing the Trade and Logistics Conference which began at the Colombo Hilton yesterday (July 10), he said that out of three terminals one will be operated by SLPA while the second terminal will be operated by M/s China Merchant Group.
These key developments in the Port Sector seek to achieve the vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to develop Sri Lanka as a maritime hub. Similar expansions and developments are underway at Hambantota and Galle Ports, he said.
In addition, approximately 230 Hectares of water front with the shelter of new break water will be reclaimed at a cost of approximately US$ 900 Million. This area will be developed as a port city with a proper planning to equip with roads, water, electricity, communication facilities to set up shopping areas, water sport area, mini golf course, hotels, apartments, recreation areas marinas etc. as a modern city, the Chairman said.
Dr. Wickrama said that Sri Lanka being an Island nation, Maritime activities play a vital role in her socio economic status. Similar to many other maritime nations who develop their maritime activities to enhance their national economy, Sri Lanka has taken steps to harness the potential offered through its locational advantage to develop into a key maritime and logistics centre in the region. In the country’s economic performance, the service sector such as trade, financial services, telecommunications, road transport and the port services being the important contributors has been the dominant factor contributing a significant percentage to the GDP.
Since Hambantota is located very close to the shipping route from the East to the West which is the busiest shipping route in the world, we are confident that the Port will serve as the naval and logistics hub in south Asia serving the international community in an efficient and productive manner, Dr. Wickrama said.
Galle Port will be developed as a tourist destination with facilities for mooring of yachts in the marinas. Passenger terminals and other facilities such as immigration, customs, and shopping centers will be made available in this recreation Port. Steps are being taken for the establishment of a special economic Zone in Trincomalee with facilities for eco tourism in addition to make available port facilities for the importation of raw materials and to export finished products, the Chairman said.
He further said that all these port development projects will make ample investment opportunities to both local and foreign investors for investment in Sri Lanka with desirable returns. Sri Lanka Ports Authority has invested over US$ 3 Billion in port development projects and in addition to that the private sector have committed to invest approximately US$ 3 Billion in Colombo Port City development project, South terminal, Hambantota free zone and Trincomalee industrial zone. Our expectation is to get additional US$ 1 Billion worth of investment under the 2nd RFP of Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota. Even though our target was to achieve US$ 5 Billion investment through private sector by the year 2015, we are confident that we could achieve this well ahead of the speculated time.
All steps are being taken under the direct supervision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is also the Hon. Minister in charge of the subject of Ports, in the improvement of warehousing facilities, electronic business systems, flexibility in decision making, maintaining zero inventories, taking timely action to accommodate requirements of shipping lines, ship owners, investors etc. This includes speedy turn round of vessels, minimizing time of port stay, optimizing return on investment, he said.
In this manner Government of Sri Lanka has made all the arrangements to attract local and foreign investors to embark on business activities in various sectors of the economy. Sri Lanka Ports Authority has made enormous investments in physical development of seaports and improvement of existing facilities with sophisticated cargo handling equipment etc, Dr Priyath stated.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority has been developing the port community system to use as a common window with the system developed by the Government for several state agencies such as Sri Lanka Customs, Immigration, and Inland Revenue etc. We were concerned to use port community system with efficient logistic, commercial and security procedures working together with the Government single window. Accordingly we have been able to implement enhanced technologies linking port terminals, Sri Lanka Customs and other state sector agencies and private sector institutions on-line to use a common platform to communicate each other eliminating all barriers ensuring improved relationship and mutual understanding through effective communication, the SLPA Chairman further stated.