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Port of Colombo aims to become the 13th largest in the world

The Port of Colombo will become the 13th largest in the world with the addition of another seven million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) capacity by 2024-2025. Currently the Colombo Port has a capacity of seven million TEUs.

This was stated by Dr. Prasantha Jayamanna, who assumed duties as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) on January 20 this year..

While we achieve this transshipment capacity and the handling capacity of 14 million in Colombo Port, we will need other support services. Therefore, we aim to develop logistic centres to add more capacity to Colombo Port to handle multi-country consolidation and value additions, he added..

Similarly, we have started the expansion of the oil berthing capacity of Colombo Port which will cut off unwanted delays for oil vessel berthing, which in turn provides bunkering fuel to the ships coming to Colombo. These vessels will unload oil to the JCT oil bank and from there customers will buy and sell to various vessels as bunker oil. This has also commenced and will continue.

The Colombo Port has moved up one notch in globe’s best ranking due to a healthy 6% growth in volumes to a record 7.25 million TEUs.

He also said that SLPA’s revenue in 2021 had risen to a record Rs. 60 billion with profit of over Rs. 20 billion as per provisional data.

The Colombo Port saw volume increase by 5.8% to 7.249 million in 2021 from the previous year. Transhipment grew by 4.2% to 5.85 million whilst domestic boxes saw double digit growth of 10% to 1.19 million. SLPA terminals on their part saw a 5% growth to 2.2 million TEUs in 2021 with domestic boxes helping with a 39% growth. 

In an interview with Daily FT  Dr. Jayamanna described the overall growth in 2021 was commendable given the challenges posted by the COVID pandemic and global supply chain disruptions.

He said proactive measures and support from all stakeholders ensured the Colombo port, considered as the nerve centre of the economy, functioned with resilience amidst local and global shocks in 2021. 

He said development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) and the West Terminal (WCT) and those being ready by 2024/25 will ensure Colombo sustains its hub status. 

“Sri Lanka’s port sector has brought in the largest amount of private Foreign Direct Investment of over $ 600 million. This reaffirms its importance and future potential,” the Chairman emphasised. 

He also said that efforts are underway to develop Trincomalee as an industrial port and Galle as a leisure port. He envisages further FDIs in to these two initiatives. 

Dr. Jayamanna said that SLPA as well as other operators Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) and South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) are continuously improving productivity and efficiency to both retain existing volume as well as woo new traffic. 

He said efforts are already underway to woo more Bangladesh cargo with special incentives and facilities. The modernisation of Bandaranaike Quay is also underway with expression of interest to be called to boost logistics services. 

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