“Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has designed the third and fourth phases of the Hambantota Port with more than 20 million TEU annual capacity to handle containerized cargo with a view to cater for the growing demand in the East-West main shipping route.”
Dr. Priyath Wickrama, Chairman Sri Lanka Ports Authority expressed these views speaking at the Sea Trade Middle East Maritime Conference held recently in Dubai on the subject ‘Modern Container Terminals’. He said the Hambantota port will provide world class infrastructure facilities for break bulk, and other service operations.
“Conventional cargo presently handled at Colombo Port will be diverted to Phase I and II of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota, with the conversion of some of the general cargo berths in Colombo as container feeder berths. Such diversion of other operations to Hambantota will create more facilities for container handling at the Colombo Port.”
“With an investment of more than US $ 20 billion on innovative solutions and cost effective methods the Sri Lanka Ports Authority would ensure servicing valued customers to their satisfaction with greater productivity and efficiency at container terminals in our seaports.”
“In addition to that, we have created many investment opportunities to attract investors to meet the growing demands of the Indian subcontinent with the best connectivity you can get.”
Airing his views on the Colombo Harbour development he said that the new port will consist of three 1,200 metre long container terminals with three main berths per each terminal to handle mega container carriers.
The SLPA will add 7.5 MTEU capacity after completion of the third stage of the Colombo Port Expansion Project. The terminals will be operational by August 2013 with latest equipment. The East Container Terminal will be operated by Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the South Container Terminal is to be operated by Colombo International Container Terminals on BOT basis. “We will call tenders for the West Container Terminal in the near future, depending on the requirement.”
“Our fleet of equipment has been strengthened by adding modern equipment such as eight quay gantry cranes with four twin lift cranes, 30 new transfer cranes with high stacking capability, 50 terminal tractors and a new feeder berth to improve the network via Colombo and also with the addition of new equipment and yard space, we have added close to 600,000 TEU annual capacity.” “We have spent over US $ 200 million only to upgrade these facilities.”
Commenting on the Global economic crisis he said that it would invariably create numerous challenges to terminal operators.
“The greatest challenge is the new wave of larger vessels. As shipping lines add larger vessels to their fleet and call only at limited number of terminals to keep down their transport cost, terminals are under pressure to provide deeper berthing facilities to accommodate larger vessels.”