Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) on Tuesday introduced a corporate plan titled "Vision 2020 – Logistic Excellence in the Silk Route" with a redefined vision and mission, shifting from the original aim of being a container hub to being a global logistical centre.
SLPA is expected to construct a multi-dimensional logistic system to integrate the logistics function while opening a deep water seaport with excellent maritime and expanding other port and sea-based activities.
Under the detailed outlook plan which was described as a "futuristic document" by Guest of Honour, MP Namal Rajapaksa, the Authority aims to become a centre of maritime excellence by 2020, with 200 million tonnage in cargo handling, US$ 1 billion in revenue, US$ 10 billion in port investment, and be a leading contributor to the national economy and a green port operator.
SLPA Chairman, Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrema noted that SLPA initially worked according to a three year development plan which was later extended to a five year period. A year ahead of completion, the SLPA and the industry is reaping the benefits of the past strategy which has helped the authority to stay abreast while the downturn took its toll on the world economies.
Congratulating the SLPA on their move towards creating a strategic plan for 2020, MP Rajapaksa noted that the development of this sector will facilitate the rapid expansion of the national economy. He observed that the plan has given consideration to aspects such as sound financial management, sustainable development and reducing carbon footprint – key factors for growth.
"Today all eyes are on Asia. Europe is still struggling to deal with effects of the recent economic crisis and other Western nations are recovering somewhat, but have not fully recovered. China and India are poised to become the next economic superpowers of the world. In this scenario, Sri Lanka occupies a great strategic position in the maritime routes of the Asian region. Therefore, becoming a maritime hub was only too obvious,” MP Rajapaksa said.
In keeping with the President’s vision of developing key hubs, the new ports vision of establishing Sri Lanka as centre of logistic excellence on the Silk Route is not only timely but is necessary in the increasingly competitive global economic environment, he added.
He further stated that the President has realised and embraced a combined maritime-aviation paradigm – sea and airport model for logistic development as development in any sector cannot take place in isolation. “This is why the Government has placed equal importance on developing the country’s aviation sector, road network, ICT infrastructure and education among others. It is only through this type of an approach that Sri Lanka will be able to maximise the potential of its unique geographical and geo-political location.”
Citing examples, he pointed out that Hambantota Port is connected to the Mattala airport by an expressway, while similarly, Colombo Port will be connected to Katunayake airport by an expressway.
Vision 2020: Aspiration and strategies
14 strategies have been identified to foster the following aspirations by 2020:
1. Centre for maritime excellence
2. 200 million tonnage in cargo handling
3. US$ 1 billion in revenue
4. US$ 10 billion in port investments (within the ports)
5. Leading contributor to the national economy
6. Green port operator
The strategies are:
Development of infrastructure and super structure facilities in Colombo
Consolidate the position of Colombo Port as a centre of maritime experience
Introduce sector specific marketing and business development programs
Develop Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMR Port) as an international service, industrial and container handling port
Enhance safety and security for cargo and port users
Mark global presence in strategic locations
Organisational restructuring and redesigning administrative procedures
Implementation of advanced financial management systems
Reduce carbon footprint
Develop other regional ports as per their individual strengths and competitive advantages
Diversification of business activities
Provision of facilities for oil and gas
Efficient vessel oriented services
Corporate social responsibility