Monday, 28 April 2014 00:00
Global giant COSCO Shipping Line makes a comeback
Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd., (CICT) the first and only deep-water terminal in the whole of South Asia, that is capable of handling the 18,000+ TEU ships, has made a major breakthrough in attracting one of the latest mega-alliances, to call at the Port of Colombo.
With the completion of the full project, way ahead of schedule, CICT has firmly established the focus of all major carriers on the Port of Colombo, as the only port in South Asia that is capable of handling the largest ships afloat. With the current trend among the major carriers being to build and or acquire ultra-large-container-carriers, the fully fledged CICT facility coming on stream could not have had a better timing.
This is a double achievement for CICT in that, the terminal construction was fully completed and fully equipped within a record period of 28 months. The fully equipped facility was taken over by CICT from the contractor, just one week ago. Within a week of full completion and takeover, CICT has the privilege of boasting the introduction of this new mega-alliance to the Port of Colombo. Industry sources were very optimistic that this new service entering Colombo would be a catalyst for other mega alliances to increase volumes over Colombo.
This mega-alliance of five large carriers, better known as the CKHYE alliance, consisting of COSCO/K-LINE/HANJIN/YANG MING LINE/EVERGREEN LINE came into the limelight when EVERGREEN LINE recently joined the original CKHY consortia as the latest partner. This alliance is now a major force to reckon with, in this era of mega alliances that are being formed to bring about economies of scale in the shipping sector which is faced with over capacity.
The two new services of this mega-alliance, known as the CES east-bound and west-bound services, also known as the NE-8 service, will be making two calls a week at CICT. The first Vessel call on this mega alliance service, took place over the weekend when the MV.COSCO BEIJING berthed at CICT.
With CMHI being the major shareholder of CICT, and a global terminal operator handling over 30% of the throughput in China, and managing other terminals globally, it is ironic that the first vessel to call at CICT under the new service is owned by COSCO Shipping Line. This is another Chinese government owned entity which is exploring all options to boost transhipment volumes over Colombo. A spokesman for CICT said that the introduction of this new service was achieved with a lot of hard work over a long period of time, and through synergies drawn through the CMHI network.
CICT went into commercial operation on 1 July last year after a soft-opening and since then has attracted ultra-large-container-carriers of 14,000+ teu ships, some of which are now regular callers at CICT. Given the terminal capacity with deep-water capability at CICT, complemented by international standard service delivery, most of the major carriers owning these ULCC’s are now having their ‘radar’ focused on the Port of Colombo.
The Port of Colombo has so far achieved double digit growth of 12% during the first quarter of this year. This is mainly attributed to CICT completing the construction of the deep-water terminal facility very much ahead of schedule and introducing ULCC handling capability at the Port of Colombo, at the most appropriate time. Shipping sources were of the view that CICT’s ability to approach the Major Shipping Lines through the CMHI port network was a significant plus factor for the Port of Colombo and that the throughput results achieved over the last three months, was a clear indication of this fact.