Sri Lanka will take delivery of two 65, 000 tons bulk carrier ships in 2016. These two ships are specially being built for the Ceylon Shipping Corporation Ltd.
The contract to build these two ships has been handed over to AVIC International Beijing Company Limited of China one of the most reputed and experienced ship building companies in China. The total investment for this is US$ 70 million. Ceylon Shipping Corporation Chairman Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage said they have obtained credit from the People's Bank to make this purchase.
Asked why they decided to build two ships instead of buying from the global market he said the shipping industry is now facing a recession and it was viable to order. “The life of a new ship will be over 50 years as against a second hand one which would be less than that.”
Currently Sri Lanka is hiring ships from other countries to freight crude oil and coal to Sri Lanka. “Our main aim initially is to stop this foreign exchange drain and we expect that annually we will help Sri Lanka to save several billions by way of freight charges”, the Chairman said.
There is a very high demand for Sri Lankan seafarers as their track record is unblemished. In a bid to support this we have also decided to engage in training sea farers and we would provide the practical knowledge for them in these two ships.
He disclosed that 5% of GDP in Philippines comes from shipping and the local shipping industry could help to earn foreign exchange. If Sri Lanka can produce 10 Shipping Masters their earnings would be equal to earnings of 100 housemaids, he said.
The Shipping Corporation has also singe dup with the two leased ships to provide opportunities to train Lanka Sea Farers. We are also negotiating with the companies to see if they could fly the Sri Lanka flag from next year, Mr. Colombage said.
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.