The Sunday Leader

Port of Colombo reaches six million TEUs for 2017

The Port of Colombo reached handling 6 million TEUs on Friday, December 22 for this year, 2017. A special function was held at the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to celebrate the handling of the 6 million TEU mark. Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe attended the event as the chief guest.

Speaking at the occasion, the Minister noted that it was commendable to witness the Port of Colombo has achieved great feats through public private collaboration.

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

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

Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Chairman of SLPA speaking at the occasion noted that it was a historic milestone to Sri Lanka Ports Authority as it was the  collective effort of SLPA with the JCT, SAGT and the CICT handling 6 million containers for a year in the Port of Colombo.

“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 of Colombo to attract more ships at its deep draft berths,” Dr. Dissanayake added.

The Port of Colombo marked the operation of its  first TEU in the year of 1973. Accordingly, the constructions of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) controlled JAYA Container Terminal’s   stage I 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 of Colombo.   Commencement of the South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) at the Port of Colombo took place in 1999. In the year 2002, with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) initiated the construction of 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, marked the achievement of  handling 1 million TEUs in the year 1995. Although it took almost 9 years to reach the mark of 2 million TEUs collaboratively with the SAGT in 2004, the Port  handled 3 million TEUs in 2006, 4 million TEUs in 2010 and 5 million TEUs collaboratively with the CICT in 2015.

Together with the latest developments in  the Sri Lankan port sector, the 6 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.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) being the land lord, regulator and the port operator together with other terminals has been able to attract more Main Lines and Feeder Services to the Port of Colombo in 2017.

With the latest initiatives implemented by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), under the guidance of Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe and under the Management led by the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, all sectors of port operation show a rapid growth compared to similar periods during the past.

A number of processes are currently being implemented in all commercial ports around the country under the purview of Sri Lanka Ports Authority to realize   the vision of the government to develop Sri Lanka as the premier maritime hub of the region.

Higher officials of SLPA including the Vice Chairman P. G. Dasanayake, Managing Director H. D. A. S. Premachandra, officials of the SAGT and CICT, officials of shipping lines and agents, officials of freight forwarding agencies and a number of staff members and employees of SLPA and other stake holding institutions attended to grace the event.

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