Home / TOP STORY/ Govt. gets aggressive on ports as pivot

Govt. gets aggressive on ports as pivot


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 10 July 2018 00:32


By Nisthar Cassim

Hot on the heels of concluding the landmark revamp of Hambantota Port, the Government is unleashing a slew of initiatives to develop the rest of the Ports in the country as a pivot to strengthen the island’s hub status and boost the economy. 

As per measures already approved, multiple Ports in the country will see over $ 200 million in immediate investment, with more likely if plans go well.

Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the Daily FT that plans are underway to further expand facilities in the Colombo Port, apart from new measures to maximise the potential of the Ports of Trincomalee and Galle, as well as revive prospects for Kankesanthurai and Oluvil. 

In a bid to improve the competitiveness of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s (SLPA) flagship Jaya Container Terminal (JCT), a fifth facility will be added to the existing offering of four JCTs. 

Cabinet has approved the launch of JCT 5 with a wider quay and modern equipment, with an investment of $70 million. The SLPA’s deep-water East Container Terminal (ECT) will be operationalised with a $100 million investment, though initially a leasing of machinery and equipment is being explored as an option to fast-track.

The Cabinet has also approved for calling for Expressions of Interest for the Colombo West Port, as well as approving the feasibility study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a Colombo North Port.

“To better serve the growing demand for Colombo we need to enhance capacity as well as efficiency,” Minister Samarasinghe told the Daily FT in an interview. 

The Minister said during the first 5 months of 2018, transshipment volumes in the port of Colombo had increased by 19% with SLPA JCT’s growing by 20%.

Colombo is the 13th best connected port in the world, and ranked as the 23rd largest container port in the world, having handled 6.2 million TEUs last year. 

Additionally, EOIs have been called for the development of a state of the art passenger terminal, in the Port of Colombo, to cater to the growing arrival of cruise tourists. He said several cruises are bypassing Colombo due to lack of improved infrastructure. Tenders have been called for the setting up of a Marina in Galle Port, which too will boost high-end tourism.

For Trincomalee, the master plan submitted by Singapore’s Surbana Jurong, including the setting up of an industrial zone is being studied. 

Minister Samarasinghe said the Government is keen to resuscitate the $50 million spent on Oluvil Port, set up with Danish assistance. “The Port has had issues with sand accumulating as well as facing sea erosion. The Cabinet has agreed on a two-pronged strategy - undertake capital dredging with a Euro 15 million assistance from Denmark at a concessionary rate, and purchase a small dredger for SLPA as a permanent solution, to carry out dredging as and when necessary in the future. We have called for EOIs for investment opportunities within the Oluvil harbour followed by RFPs. A solution has been found to the land compensation issue as well. SLPA will provide alternative land for those whose original land was acquired,” the Minister said. 

Given these breakthroughs, Samarasinghe expressed confidence that Oluvil port can be operationalised and aim for commercial viability. For the Kankesanthurai port, Cabinet has approved for a soft loan worth $45 million from India to reactivate it. Minister Samarasinghe said that a national shipping policy is being prepared in consultation with industry stakeholders and once finalised will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. 


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Bright star Imran Khan could well go the way of his predecessors

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket star, anti-corruption crusader and politician, appears to be within reach of his cherished goal of winning the 25 July Pakistan National Assembly (NA) elections and becoming Prime Minister.


Top Cola brand crashing globally; lesson for Sri Lanka

Friday, 20 July 2018

We have heard the age old adage, if a brand is not in line to the trends of a customer, they will cease to exist over time.


Religion and politics: a tale of two hypocrisies

Friday, 20 July 2018

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief,


Sri Lanka’s Trade Information Portal – Bringing local traders one step closer to the global market

Friday, 20 July 2018

Sri Lanka’s traditional lacework famously known as Beeralu is slowly moving into the spotlight of the global fashion industry


Columnists More