The Government is to buy two bulk carrier ships from Chinain line with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision of making Sri Lanka the Maritime Hub in Asia and for the progress of the country’s shipping industry.
Accordingly, Commander of the Navy and Chairman of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation Limited, Vice Admiral JayanathColombage and General Manager of the People’s Bank, Mr. Vasantha Kumar signed the loan agreement for the purchase of two 63,600 MT DWT bulk carrier ships at the Naval Headquarters on 27th May 2014.
The ships are built by AVIC International Beijing Company Ltd at Weihai, China and each is valued at 35 million USD.
As envisaged in the National Development Program of Mahinda Chintana, the Vision for the Future, the government of Sri Lanka in its concerted efforts of transforming the country as a maritime and Logistics Hub in the region has recognized the critical importance of reviving the Ceylon Shipping Corporation Limited (CSCL), the national shipping line of the country complementary to the creation of world class port infrastructure and conducive policy framework related to the shipping and logistics industry.
It was also announced in the National Budget-2014, the need for acquiring ships for CSCL in order to build up a national fleet in the interest of the country and the national economy, as it was in the glorious past of CSCL, when the country owned and operated over 20 ships through the CSCL to many ports in the world training seafarers and providing jobs.
As the first step in realizing this objective, the Cabinet had approved the purchase of two 63,600 MT DWT bulk carrier ships to the CSCL, mainly intended for transporting of thermal coal imported for the coal fired power plant in the country.
Accordingly, CSCL signed the ship building agreement with M/s AVIC International Beijing Company Limited of China, which is one of the most reputed and experienced ship building companies in China. The expected time of delivery of the first vessel is 31st October January 2015 and the second vessel is expected on 31st January 2016.
The ships, which are being purchased by CSCL after 30 years, will partly replace the foreign owned ships currently being used for coal transport to the country thereby saving a substantial amount of hard earned foreign exchange now being remitted out of the country for freight in addition to providing employment for the Sri Lankan seafarers and creation of shore based employments.
They are specially designed to add an extra deck at an extra cost to accommodate around 25 persons in addition to its standard crew complement, with a view to providing training for Sri Lankan Deck and Engineering Cadets who passes out from Sri Lanka Marine Colleges.