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            october 23, 2019

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Colombo port plan features development of East Container Terminal


The National Port Master Plan for Sri Lanka's Colombo port has a threefold focus to retain the gateway's position as a world class transshipment hub serving the Middle East, East Africa, India, Pakistan and the Bay of Bengal, as well as to become an efficient logistic hub for imports and newly developed exports and become a sustainable port.
The master plan by NIRAS mtbs and funded by the Asian Development Bank and Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction states: "The Colombo port is the leader in the Indian Ocean as a transshipment hub port and 'should stay competitive with other national and international transshipment ports'. To achieve this, the focus should be on operational excellence on marine services, cargo handling services, auxiliary functions and on inter-terminal traffic.
"The marine activities and handling activities are one of the core activities of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). Port designs are adjusted and future capacity is planned to stay ahead of demand. Innovations and new technologies will support this development.
"The port of Colombo should also become more efficient to facilitate the NES [National Export Strategy] on targeted export sectors as well as improving logistics on import cargo. As many trades are transported by containers, the container logistics chain is a prime focus to become more efficient. This can be created for better infrastructure on port and hinterland connections as well as on administration and procedures."
Against this backdrop, the government has embarked on ambitious plans to transform Sri Lanka into a vibrant maritime hub in the region, reported Sri Lanka's Sunday Observer.
One of the developments that took place recently as far as the plan implementation process was concerned, was the signing of a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) by Sri Lanka, Japan and India to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) located in the Colombo South Port.
The three governments will now work out the details based on the MoC at joint working group meetings, and advance their cooperation towards early commencement of work and operation of the ECT.
SLPA chairman Kavan Ratnayaka said the SLPA retains 100 per cent ownership of ECT. The Terminal Operations Company (TOC) conducting all East Container Terminal operations is jointly owned. Sri Lanka holds a 51 per cent stake and the remainder was purchased by the joint venture partners.
Japan has agreed to provide a concessionary loan to develop the ECT at an estimated cost of US$500 million.
Aside from the ECT project, the port authorities are currently working on several other development projects to boost the efficiency of its terminals.
The life span of SLPA-managed Jaya Container Terminals (JCT 1 to 4) is also coming to an end. "They need to be modernised. With JCT terminals having capacity and efficiency issues, it is vital to have the ECT at operational level to meet the future demand of the Colombo port," Mr Ratnayaka said.
The Colombo port's current capacity with JCT, South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT) and Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) is 7.5 million TEU and last year the volumes handled amounted to seven million TEU, an increase of 13.5 per cent compared to 2017. Transshipment cargo accounts for 80 per cent of the total volume.

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