Vehicle carriers coming to Hambantota Port
As an effective measure to ease the long berthing delays experienced by Roll on-Roll off vessels at the Port of Colombo, SLPA, with the consultation of shipping lines and importers, recently decided to route all such vessels to the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMR Port) and the first Ro-Ro vessel operation at the port is scheduled to be carried out on 6 June 2012.
Accordingly, the vessel N4K Fricia from Japan will call at the MRMR Port with 15 vehicles for transhipment on 5 June 2012. She will be followed by Asian Sun calling from Chennai in India on 6 June 2012 and carrying more than 1,000 vehicles for transhipment.
The vehicles brought by the vessel Asian Sun will be transhipped from MRMR Port to Algeria by the car carrier Asian Legend on 15 June 2012.
Commencement of these operations at MRMR Port has expressed itself as a dedicated and reliable facility for international maritime transportation in the region.
These new developments will also extend a practically positive reply to a number of adverse reports made by certain parties against the new port during recent past.
As an initiative to the operations at the premises, President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently made a special inspection tour at the new port. During the visit, further discussions were also made on the already completed stage one as well as the ongoing developments of stage two of the project.
On completion of all dredging works, The National Hydrographic Department printed the navigation chart for the MRMR Port, which is available for purchase from their office in Colombo. The British Admiralty has also issued a notice to mariners regarding the establishment of the port.
At present due to non-availability of dedicated automobile terminal in the Port of Colombo and lack of yard storage areas, Roll on-Roll off vessels have suffered long delays in berthing. This has in turn resulted in operators increasing freight rates to Colombo, and this increased freight cost has to be borne by Sri Lankan importers.
Furthermore, major Ro-Ro operators could not promote automobile transhipment business over the Port of Colombo. In 2009 the Port handled 4,973 vehicles as transhipment and in 2010- 2,455 vehicles and in 2011 only 993 vehicles. This clearly indicates the drop in transhipment of automobile volumes over Colombo due to the congestion and non-availability of dedicated automobile terminals.
This new move will enable to reduce congestion over Colombo, introduce quicker clearance system with SL Customs where the document processing can be done in either Hambantota or Colombo without any delay and promote transhipment business with a dedicated automobile handling terminal facility in MRMR Port.
In addition to already announced concessions granted to any type of vessel calling at the MRMR Port by the SLPA, importers of vehicles are being afforded special concessions. The prompt berthing of vessels, ample secure parking facilities would assure speedy turnaround of vessels.
With such attractive concessions being afforded, it is expected that vehicle importers will avail themselves of this facility at Hambantota. The SLPA is vigorously campaigning to establish the MRMR Port as a preferred transhipment hub for vehicles and attractive incentives are being afforded to shipping lines to avail themselves of this facility too.
The vast areas available for parking of vehicles will be an added boost for the transhipment trade. The additional safety and security precautions there will also result in towards the maximum standards of reducing damages and pilferage.