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Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Virginia Ports Authority, USA enter into historic MOC

By: Staff Writer

July 04, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA)  is poised to improve its operations with cutting edge technology while entering into an agreement with Virginia Ports Authority (VPA) in the United States of America for the first time in history.

The two sides have agreed to enter into a cooperative agreement for the mutual exchange of expertise and technical collaboration between the two US and Sri Lanka ports.

It is anticipated that the large-scale current development projects, such as the operations of the Colombo West International Terminal (CWIT) and the East Container Terminal (ECT), will raise the bar for operations using cutting-edge technology and improve the index’s ratings in the medium term.

SLPA achieved a 35 percent increase in container volumes in the first four months of 2024, compared to the same period of 2023.

The numbers increased to 837,052 TEUs in the first four months of 2024, compared to 619,934 TEUs in the same period of 2023 due to various factors, including the Red Sea crisis and its ramifications.

SLPA officials travelled to the United States as part of the Port of Colombo Capacity Building Project, supported by the US Embassy in Sri Lanka and implemented by The Colombo Plan.

The Port of Colombo operates under SLPA, which is the primary transshipment hub for South Asia. Additionally, the Port of Virginia, under VPA, is one of the largest ports on the East Coast of the United States and runs an automated SMART port, which is a major international gateway for US trade bound for overseas markets.

The Memoredum of Cooperations (MOC) was agreed upon on 15 May in Portsmouth, VA when the SLPA delegation visited the United States on a study tour through The Colombo Plan.

The MOC came into effect with the approval by the Cabinet of Ministers in Sri Lanka on 19 June. Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva submitted the details to cabinet under the Sri Lankan Government’s “Ports prosperity expertise development” theme.

It covers the subject areas through 10 articles consisting of  information and knowledge sharing, exchange visits, sharing best practices, cooperation on general logistics, exchange of technical expertise, supporting initiatives in maritime security, liaising between parties, dispute settlement and entry into force, validity and renewal, and termination.

This MOC has a validity period of five years. SLPA Chairman Keith Bernard, and VPA General Council Sarah J. McCoy signed the MOC on behalf of each organisation while Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Sri Lanka Secretary K.D.S.  Ruwanchandra,

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung lauded the historic port agreement between Sri Lanka and Virginia ports authorities, noting, “Sri Lanka has a vital role to play in facilitating global trade and ensuring the world’s cargo efficiently traverses the Indian Ocean.

This agreement is a testament to the shared vision of both our nations to bolster maritime security, enhance logistical efficiency, and drive economic growth. The United States recognises the importance of a robust and resilient maritime sector in Sri Lanka and is dedicated to providing ongoing support and cooperation.”

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