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Colombo Port enhances its services to Bangladesh shippers

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is set to expand the Colombo Port services now being provided to Bangladesh shippers, official sources said. .

Colombo Port provides four-five days transit advantage to the west bound shipments which is a significant advantage for the apparel trade of Bangladesh

SLPA Chairman Dr. Prasantha Jayamanna briefed about the present facilities as well as ongoing and future expansion plan of Colombo Port which when completed in 2025-26, would increase their container handling capacity to 15 million TEUs.

He was addressing a stakeholders’ consultation forum on enhancing shipping connectivity between Chattogram and Colombo Ports organised by the Bangladesh High Commission to Sri Lanka in Colombo on 29 June 2022 pursuant to observance of the First Economic Diplomacy Week.

The event was joined by Sri Lanka Ports Authority terminal operators and the service providers such as feeder operators, freight forwarders, NVOCCs and shippers and from Bangladesh, members from the ports and shipping community and service providers joined the discussion online.

The purpose was to facilitate greater understanding of operational issues between Chattogram and Colombo Ports and ensure greater connectivity and supply chain security and stronger partnership between the two ports.

Dr. Prasantha Jayamanna announced that State-owned Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of Colombo Port would extend priority berthing to Bangladesh feeder vessels. It may be mentioned that the Bangladesh High Commission has been pursuing this priority berthing issue with SLPA for a long period.

The SLPA Chairman said that the Bangladesh trade lane is an important customer for Sri Lanka and the port of Colombo was keen to facilitate Bangladesh shippers to be competitive when shipping west bound.

Currently Colombo handles about 23% of Bangladesh transshipment cargo which has crossed the 700,000 TEU mark and has had a growth even during the pandemic.

The logistics and freight forwarders said that Sri Lanka also gives an advantage for air-sea and sea-air cargo from Bangladesh and if capacity is increased more business can be developed.

Representative of the Chattogram Port Authority shared, inter alia, that Bangladesh’s container traffic through Colombo Port has increased significantly last year.

Representatives of Bangladesh stakeholders shared the users’ perspective about Colombo Port, emerging trends, and challenges in shipping operations. The Chattogram Port Authority representative also indicated that there is potential to increase volumes and that this kind of bilateral discussions will help both sides for greater understanding.

The logistics and freight forwarders joining the discussions said that Sri Lanka also gives an advantage for air-sea and sea-air cargo from Bangladesh and if capacity is increased more business can be developed.

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