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Colombo Port handles six millionth TEU

Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe signalling to handle the six millionth TEU of the Port of Colombo brought in by MV MSC Madhu B at the Jaya Container Terminal. SLPA Chairman Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake and Director (Operations) Jayantha Perera were present.

The Port of Colombo handled its six millionth Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container volume last Friday.

Speaking at a special function held at the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to celebrate the handling of the 6 million TEU mark, Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said it was commendable to witness the Colombo port achieving the great feats through public-private collaboration.

“Deviating from the traditional competition, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority controlled Jaya Container Terminal, privately owned SAGT and CICT together have proven of a success story that we can continue to make the port the hub in the region,” the Minister said.

He thanked officials, staff and employees of the SLPA, SAGT, CICT, shipping agents, freight forwarding agencies and stakeholders who contributed in numerous ways to elevate the position of the port to higher standards amongst the container ports of the world.

SLPA Chairman Dr.Parakrama Dissanayake said it was a historic milestone to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority as it was the collective effort of the SLPA with the JCT, SAGT and the CICT handling 6 million containers for a year at the port.

“We have to be mindful of the marketing challenges we are expected to face. The commencement of operations of the East Terminal of the Colombo South Harbour in near future will see further increased efficiency in the port to attract more ships at its deep draft berths,” Dr. Dissanayake said.

The Colombo port marked the operation of its first TEU in 1973. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) controlled Jaya Container Terminal’s stage. It was completed in 1985. The completion of the stage II of the JCT in 1987, stages III and IV in 1995 and 1996 respectively marked the increase of operation volumes of the port.

South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) commenced its work in 1999. In 2002, assisted by Asian the Development Bank (ADB), the SLPA initiated to construct the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) which is known as the Colombo South Harbour today. The new harbour was constructed with plans to the ever increasing Ultra Large Container Vessels. Its first terminal known as the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) was completed with the investment of over US $ 500 million as a PPP loan and on BOT model. The CICT of Colombo South Harbour came into operations in 2013.

With the rapid development of port infrastructure including the construction of new terminals and the public private partnership in operations at the Port of Colombo, the handling capacity of the Port of Colombo dramatically increased.

The Port of Colombo achieved one million TEUs in the year 1995. Although it took almost nine years to reach the mark of two million TEUs collaboratively with the SAGT in 2004, the Port handled three million TEUs in 2006, four million TEUs in 2010 and five million TEUs collaboratively with the CICT in 2015.

Together with the latest developments in the Sri Lankan port sector, the six million TEUs mark this year is recorded through aggressive marketing strategies implemented in collaboration with the SAGT, CICT and the public sector controlled JCT to offer a world class service with the maximum customer satisfaction and the minimum vessel turnaround time, Minister Samarasinghe said.

The SLPA, being the landlord, regulator and port operator together with other terminals has been able to attract more Main Lines and Feeder Services to the port in 2017, he saod.

With the latest initiatives implemented, all sectors of port operation show a rapid growth compared to similar periods during the past. A number of processes are being implemented in all commercial ports around the country under the purview of the SLPA to realise the vision of the government to develop Sri Lanka as the premier maritime hub of the region, the Minister said.

SLPA Vice Chairman P.G. Dasanayake, Managing Director H.D.A.S.Premachandra, SAGT and CICT officials other stakeholders were present.