The Hambantota International Port (HIP) scored another first recently when the ‘Ithaca Patience’ docked in its harbour to discharge 27,150MT of slag cargo – an additive used in the manufacture of cement. The operation was successfully completed with high levels of efficiency, peaking at 11,000 MT on some days.
In the past, slag cargo was usually discharged at the Galle Harbour off smaller vessels.Due to Galle port having much less draught clearance this type of larger bulk vessel is unable to call at Galle and therefore the discharging operation was carried out successfully at Hambantota.
“The advantage of bringing in bigger ships provides economy of scale, and the efficiency with high productivity levels has made Hambantota Port the preferred option for the cement industry operating in the south,” says Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) COO Tissa Wickramasinghe. “In addition, prior to handling this cargo, we have complied with all regulatory environmental requirements and precautions as recommended bythe Central Environment Authority.”
Thusith Gunawarnasuriya, Director of Procurement and Logistics, INSEE Cement, the consignee of the slag cargo, said that he would be looking at monthly or even bi-monthly shipments to HIP to cater to the recently expanded INSEE cement manufacturing capacity in the South. “We are very happy with the services offered,” he says, describing them as “proactive, supportive and on par with top international ports”. INSEE had been operating through the Colombo, Trincomalee and Galle ports previously.The Procurement and Logistics Director for INSEE Cement says, “This whole operation was cost effective and convenient.”
Wickramasinghe also confirmed that the SLAG cargo shipment was a considerable cost saving for INSEE Cement in terms of economies of scale, as HIP has a deeper draught that can accommodate large bulk carriers.The COO says the slag shipment has further diversified the activities of the Hambantota International Port, which is now positioned to be Sri Lanka’s number one multipurpose port. The Port which has the necessary infrastructure to provide services such as container handling, general cargo, RORO, passenger, oil, bulk terminal, gas and project cargo has currently reached efficiency levels that can compete with any other port in the region.