The Government has taken steps to liberalize and strengthen rules and regulations as supportive measures for the growth of shipping and maritime business in the country among other measures is to create a conducive environment towards investment promotion and hub creation, Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama, said.
The three-year short term port development plan of 2008-2010 was successfully completed, after which a five-year medium term plan was made for 2010-2014. The seven-year port development plan to be completed by 2020 is in progress, Dr. Wickrama told at a recent seminar in Colombo.
It is the intention of the Government to launch a 25-year long term plan for development, improvement and promotion of the port sector. While the aspiration is to develop Sri Lanka as a global logistic hub and delivery of world class services to port users and stakeholders, achievement of Vision 2020 will ensure the country as a maritime hub, Ports Authority chief said.
He said handling 200 million tonnage of cargo handling, enjoying a US$ one billion in revenue and the country also expecting US$ 10 billion investment within ports by 2020.
He noted that SLPA has developed operational and marketing strategies, financial objectives and safety and security plans to achieve the growth targets.
The country has seven main berths, four feeder berths, 35 ship-to-shore cranes and 110 transfer cranes to serve ships with faster turnaround time within the port of Colombo. Under the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) the country can now enjoy a 6.8 km break water, a mega berth at Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), six supper post panamax gantry cranes and 10 transfer cranes, he added.
Port of Colombo handled 4.263 million TUs in 2011, with 3% increase when compared with the volumes of 4.137 million TUs in 2010. In 2013, volumes increased by 2.8% when compared with 2012,” Wickrama said.
The latest achievement is 12.3 percent increase to-date by handling 682,756 TUs when compared to the same period last year. With the completion of three berths at CICT and operation of ECT considerable volume of containers will ship to Colombo by 2015 from other regional hub ports, expanding the numbers further by end next year, he added.