The Sunday Leader

New Capacity In Port To Change Supply Chain

The new capacity Colombo has achieved with the opening of the Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) could change the container supply chains in the region, says TissaWickramasinghe, General Manager of CICT.
Back in Sri Lanka after attending the TOC Container Supply Chain event held in Singapore, the CICT official explained that Colombo acts as a transshipment port for the potentially vast markets of the Indian subcontinent.

“At present, Colombo’s container capacity utilisation is around 95%, and as such, it has been unable to expand its market share.But with the opening of the new terminals, the route between Chittagong, Singapore and Colombo can be rationalized. A lot of traffic is feedered from Chittagong to Singapore and then transhipped onto larger vessels on the westbound Asia-Europe services,” said Tissa.

“Colombo is directly on that trade route, and by cutting out the Chittagong-Singapore leg on those container supply chains, we are looking at an extra million teu that could come directly to Colombo and offer European importers reduced shipping costs,” pointed out the CICT official.

According to experts, the completion of the three-stage China Merchants-funded Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) under the Colombo Port Expansion Project could have a dramatic effect for container throughput for Colombo.Early this month, CICT opened the third phase of its facility in Colombo port. The terminal began operations last year.

The annual report of the China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI), released last month, states the new terminals had handled 60,000teu last year, gradually increasing its operational capabilities.

The project is the result of 500-million-dollar investment by China Merchants and represents the largest tranche of direct foreign investment in the country. The Chinese company holds an 85% stake in CICT, with Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) holding the remaining 15%.

The facility has an annual capacity of 2.5m teu, with a total berth length of 1.2km and a depth alongside of 18 metres. Last year, Colombo’s throughput at the three terminals in its older port area – the APM Terminals-managed South Asia Gateway Terminal, and the SLPA-run Unit and Jaya container terminals – amounted to 4.2m teu, a slight decline on 2012.

The CICT General Manager also noted that other trade links were also expected to open up, with two new feeder services between Colombo and Myanmar to be launched shortly.

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