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Cabinet approves fresh plans to boost ports


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  • EOI to be called for East Terminal in Colombo; Ro-Ro operations in Hambantota

 

By Himal Kotelawala

The Government has approved fresh plans to boost the ports and shipping business in the country.

Last week the Cabinet approved two key measures calling for Expression of Interests for the East Terminal of the Colombo Port and Ro-Ro (Roll-On, Roll-Off) operations at the Hambantota Port, following proposals submitted by Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga.

Government sources said the Sri Lanka Ports Authority had planned to gain an advantageous situation in the region by increasing the container operation capacity under the Colombo Port Expanding Project. Civil constructions and construction of required yard facilities in the 450-metre-long jetty is in its final stage. The Cabinet decided to call for Expression of Interests and the issuance of Request for Proposals from interested parties to maintain operations of the jetty as a joint venture with a shipping company or a private terminal operator as to hold 51% of ownership by the SLPA. Furthermore, a decision was made for a Cabinet-appointed Negotiation Committee to make recommendations for a successful proposal.

With regard to the Hambantota Port, it was decided to call for Expression of Interests for a joint venture in Ro-Ro operations of the multipurpose terminal of the first phase of the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port.

The Government said ships could easily reach East African countries and Western Australia directly from the Hambantota Port which was situated between Singapore and Dubai which are two key vehicle reshipping centres close to Sri Lanka. 

The proposal made by Minister Ranatunga was to call for expression of interests and issue Request for Proposals from interested parties to maintain operations of the multipurpose berth of Phase 1 of the development of the Hambantota Port as a joint venture with a Ro-Ro vessel/ terminal operator, and to select a Cabinet-appointed Negotiation Committee to make recommendations over a successful proposal, considering the potential of developing Hambantota as a reshipping centre if the management and operations of the port was planned to attract vehicle manufacturers and transporting agents.

Ro-Ro specialises in over-dimensionnal self-propelled/motorised (trucks, construction equipment, cars, etc.) cargo that is rolled on to this special vessel and then simply rolled-off at destination port. This very simple way of handling oversized cargo is the safest and cheapest method of doing so.

 


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