Sri Lanka’s port of Colombo wants to secure a spot among the top 20 global container ports and now seems to be the perfect time to do so seeing that major global ports have seen their cargo throughput decline in 2015 whereas Colombo experienced growth.
Namely, the Port of Colombo marked a growth of 5.9% compared to its rivals such as Singapore, Salala and Hamburg that experienced 8%, 18% and 11.7% decreases in operations respectively.
At the same time, the domestic operations have increased by 8.3% and transshipment TEU operations by 5.4%, Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Dammika Ranathunga said.
Ranathunga also said that the usual productivity of gantry cranes at the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of SLPA for the month of January 2015 which was 20 TEUs per hour had been increased up to 26 TEUs per hour by November 2015.
“We expect to accomplish construction of the East Terminal, purchase machinery and other equipment to commence operations in 2016. As a result of marketing and business promotion strategies, SLPA could enter into six MOUs with main global shipping lines in 2015. Hence, three main lines and four feeder services were attracted to the JCT. At the end 2015, the JCT won the ISO: 9001/2008 Quality Management Certification in Container Terminal Management and Operations as a result of the improved efficiency at the SLPA terminals. With the award, the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) became the first and the only terminal at the Port of Colombo to achieve an international quality certification,” he said.
The port authority said that its main financial challenge in the new year is to pay back the loans obtained to construct the Port of Hambantota.
The loan installment and the interest for the completed stage I and the interest charges and commitment charges for stage II being completed at present have to be paid in 2016. Although the cost of Rs.9000 million that has to be paid has been exhorting considerable pressure on the port, the port authority plans to introduce new mechanisms in 2016 to meet its obligations. Aside to the investment in the Port of Hambantota, the port authority is considering opening a bunker facility and expanding the RO-RO transshipment business.