Wednesday, 29 April 2015 02:15
Arjuna says port development should take place according to national priorities
Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga signals to commence operations at East Terminal of the Port of Colombo. SLPA Chairman Dr. Lakdas Panagoda, Ministry of Ports and Shipping Secretary L.P. Jayampathi and senior officials of SLPA are also presentConventional cargo vessel Mv. Xin Hong Baoshi at the Port of Colombo
The Colombo Port saw the launch of the first phase of the East Terminal by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority on Monday.
The total length of the East Terminal of Colombo South Port is 1200m. At present, construction activities of 400m out of the total length has been completed.
SLPA’s investment through local inputs is $ 80 million. The terminal has a draft of 18m.
The first vessel to call at the terminal was China’s COSCO Line’s Mv. Xin Hong Baoshi and the operations were carried out with the initiative of Minister of Port and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga on the invitation of SLPA Chairman Dr. Lakdas Panagoda.
Ranatunga in his remarks said that the SLPA should be developed according to the national priorities but not to the tune of personal agendas. The Minister made this statement attending the opening of the first section of the East Terminal of the Port of Colombo. He also stated that no further space would be made available to financial frauds in the past.
“Today, we opened this terminal on the financial foundation that we should receive due financial benefits if there exists such benefits towards us. The question in front of us today is if there existed a true development in the country and in our institution. We cannot ignore probing into frauds during the recent past. We have implemented a separate mechanism to probe into such matters. If we b-pass such mechanisms we would never be able to develop this institution. Today, we have opened doors to all.
“This is not a port merely offered to a minister or chairman. Although it is said that the port is the heart of the nation, no employee had been facilitated with favourable environs to work or perform accurately. Our objective is to develop this port parallel to the fulfilment of the employees’ requirements as well. A country or an institution should be developed based on priorities but not according to my will or that of the Chairman or the Board of Directors. We should have a proper plan. The country should be benefitted by that,” the Minister further stated.
Under Ranatunga’s instruction, Dr. Panagoda has implemented procedures to facilitate the conventional cargo vessels with a higher draft to be operated at the terminal until the TEU operational machinery and cranes arrive at the new terminal for TEU operations.
At present, in international maritime transportation, both TEU and conventional cargo vessel operators are taking steps to utilise mega vessels with higher drafts to obtain maximum benefits from the Economy of Scale. Accordingly, local agents of conventional cargo vessels have pointed out the SLPA management the importance and necessity of facilitating mega conventional cargo vessels with higher drafts at the Port of
It is expected to extend the development of the terminal to enable container vessel operations in the near future.
Ministry of Ports and Shipping Secretary L.P. Jayampathi, Dr. Panagoda and a number of higher officials of SLPA also attended the function.