Bright future for Sri Lanka in Asian transportation

Thursday, 9 May 2013 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka plays an increasingly important role in South Asia’s drive to assume its position as one of the most important economic areas in the entire world.


Organised by Seatrade and hosted by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), the last day of Sri Lanka Ports, Trade & Logistics Conference, Exhibition & Awards started with a two-hour port tour of the Colombo Port, hosted by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, for the participants of the event. The tour consisted of a visit to the existing harbour and a look at the Colombo Port Expansion Project including the breakwaters, concluded with a breakfast organised at the port.

During the tour, all participants received valuable insights about the current status of the Colombo Port Expansion Project, its achievements and next project stages. After the conclusion of the breakwater construction, it is currently in progress with the construction of the South Container Terminal, within which China Merchant Holdings is constructing and will operate the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), with the first 400 m to be completed by July 2013 and another 600 m to be completed by the end of this year.

In addition, 400 m of the East Container Terminal operated by Sri Lanka Ports Authority are planned to be completed by the third quarter of 2014. The entire Colombo Port Expansion Project is planned to be completed by 2020.

The Colombo Port Expansion Project also received the Maritime Infrastructure  Award at the Sri Lanka Ports, Trade & Logistics Conference, Exhibition & Awards 2013. On behalf of SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama received the award.

The last day of the event proceeded with five conference sessions, focused on important themes from the maritime and logistics industry. Within the first morning session on large infrastructure projects in the Indian Ocean, Vishvjeet Kanwarpal, CEO, GIS – Global InfraSys Ltd. & Asia Consulting Group Ltd. said that considering Sri Lanka’s increasingly important role in Asian transportation, “the future of Sri Lanka is bright, with an impressive growth even within the recession”.

The second morning session emphasised the main strengths of seafarer training in Sri Lanka, which included a well established education infrastructure, widespread usage and knowledge of English, substantial involvement from the private sector, applications well in excess of training positions, and unified regulatory (single legislation for training), as stated by Thomas Kriwat, Managing Director, Mercmarine Group of Companies.

The afternoon conference sessions started with an analysis of the potential of the offshore and onshore energy development and production in Sri Lanka, emphasising the role of private companies’ investments in the development of hydrocarbon resources, successful projects’ development, production and monetisation of Sri Lanka’s hydrocarbon resources and the importance of the maritime sector, with Sri Lanka becoming a major bunkering hub in South Asia.

Within the last conference sessions two other relevant themes – Securing safe passage and protecting against threats at sea, exposing the developing role of Sri Lanka, and the Waterborne tourism and marina development – were discussed, bringing the second edition of the Sri Lanka Ports, Trade & Logistics Conference, Exhibition & Awards to a successful conclusion.

With a rapidly growing economy, mega port projects and other infrastructure planned to capitalise on its geographical location next to the fast growing Indian and Chinese economies, Sri Lanka is well placed to continue the momentum to become an integral part of South Asia’s drive to assume its position as one of the most important economic areas in the entire world.


Personality of the Year Award

The Personality of the Year Award at the Seatrade 2013 was won by Susantha Abeysiriwardana – Project Director (Colombo Port Expansion Project) and Chief Engineer (Planning and Development) of SLPA.

Abeysiriwardana joined SLPA in 1991 and received the  privilege to work in major construction works such as the Port Access Road, JCT 3 and 4, Ashrof Jetty in Trincomalee, enhancement of water depth in the Port of Colombo and Main channel as well as the Colombo Port of Expansion Project. He has also contributed to the  project formulation of Port Oluvil and Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa  Port Projects.

He has also undertaken to successfully  fulfil various capacities at the Galle Port project, Port City Project, Head Office Building, Cargo Village, Establishment of Port related Business ventures in Trincomalee Port as well as the  East Container Terminal Project of the Colombo Port Expansion Project.

Having received his education  in Moragolla Primary Scool in Matale, Lenagala Primary School and Panagoda Sri Parakrama Maha Vidyalaya in Homaga, Rajasinghe Madyamaha Vidyalaya in Hanwella and finally at Nalanda College, he completed his  Bachelor’s degree in Engineering  at  the University of Moratuwa and Masters at the National Institute of Technology, Trondheim Norway.