MRMRP in unprecedented journey towards strengthening country’s maritime hub status

Monday, 7 April 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The services rendered at present at the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMRP) in Hambantota are continuing on the lines of highest quality. The expansions taking place with the oncoming massive development activities around this port, that include the tank farm, the green port city and free zones providing tax havens and bunkering facilities, are sure to realise a long term dream of the vessels sailing in the Indian Ocean, and those involved in the field of supply chain management as well. In the future the port will predominantly operate as a transhipment port. In a special note on the port’s continued developments, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama stated that when the project was initiated in 2010, many challenged that the location with a hard rock bed would never be ideal and definitely be fatal to the long existence of the port. “Accurately, there wasn’t any rock but a mere cliff that obstructed the constructions and that cliff no longer exists,” he said. During the official visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to China in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of bilateral friendship between the People’s Republic of China and Sri Lanka, special negotiations were held with Chinese President Hu Jintao to obtain financial assistance to construct the MRMRP. Signing of the financial agreement for the MRMR Port Development Project was held on 30 October 2007 at Temple Trees under the patronage of President Rajapaksa. Construction commenced on the 15 January 2008. The feasibility study for the construction of Magam Ruhunupura Port was carried out by SNC Lavolis, a Canadian international company, and the basic designs were prepared by the Denmark Rambol company in 2005. Under Stage I of the project, the West Breakwater of 988 m, the East Breakwater of 312 m, a ships terminal of 600m, a service terminal of 105 m, an oil terminal of 610 m and a ships turning circle of 600 m were constructed with a basin draught of 17 m, and a Port Access Canal that consists of a width of 210 m and a draught of 17m. The deepen land area in Stage I – was 43 ha, enabling the facilitation of 100,000 DWT capacity ships. “By now the second phase of the port has been completed up to 45%. Anyone who has any doubt of the development of this port can come and see the developments going on with no interference. The port also possesses a huge potential and a growing capacity to overtake even the Port of Colombo in a future day,” SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama stated. As an effective measure to ease the long berthing delays experienced by Roll on Roll off vessels at the Port of Colombo, SLPA, with the consultation of shipping lines and importers, decided to route all such vessels to the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and the first Ro-Ro vessel operation at the port was carried out on 6 June 2012. Commencement of Ro-Ro operations at Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port expressed itself as a dedicated and reliable facility for international maritime transportation in the region. This new move enabled to reduce congestion over Colombo, introducing a quicker clearance system with SL Customs where the document processing could be done in either Hambantota or Colombo without any delay, and promote transhipment business with a dedicated automobile handling terminal facility in Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port. As at March 2014 the port has received 204 Ro-Ro vessels and has handled nearly 36,401 domestic units and more than 79,147 transhipment units. During 2012, MRMRP has also handled 19,716 tons of break bulk cargo whilst in 2013 the port handled 118,579 tons of break bulk cargo, showing a growth of 501.4%. The operational performance of the port for the month of February 2013 and 2014 has also shown a growth of 267.9% with the handling of 7,037 tons of break bulk cargo for the month of February 2013 and 25,891 tons of break bulk cargo for the same period in 2014. More than 2,000 hectares of lands adjoining the harbour have been declared as a special economic and industrial zone to boost industrial and commercial activities. Out of the 27 investors who expressed interest to commence projects, six investors bid for cement industry while two had expressed for vehicle assembling and another two for gas. The Project Committee received proposals from three investors for warehousing, two for petro-chemicals and one each for sugar refinery, fertiliser and canning. The Cabinet of Ministers approved seven investment proposals, subsequent to the recommendations by Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee with the assistance of the Technical Evaluation Committee. Accordingly, three investors namely, Thatta Cement Company Ltd., Hambana Petrochemicals Ltd. (HPL), Lanka Sugar Refinery Company Ltd. and Litro Gas Terminal Lanka Ltd. have already commenced constructions following successful business venture agreements with SLPA. Hayles Advantis Ltd. (fertiliser bagging plant), McLarnes Holdings Ltd. (warehousing), Agalawatta Plantation PLC (warehousing) and ACE Distripaks Ltd. (warehousing) are among the other cabinet approved investors who have expressed their confidence to commence business with MRMRP. Meanwhile, the new administrative complex, Sayuru Paya of Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMRP) was also declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 8 November 2013. The building is situated bordering the idyllic southern beach front of the new port. The administrative building at the site commenced constructions as a part of the main project on 7 October 2009. The building consists of 14 storeys including 100,000 sq. ft. and with a height of 200 ft. With the opening of the new building, all port customers at MRMRP will be able to fulfil all customer requirements at this one-stop centre. The new administrative building has been constructed with a cost of Rs. 1 billion. All developmental activities at MRMRP are being successfully carried out with the supervision of Project Minister of Highways, Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena and instructions by SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath B.Wickrama. Following the footsteps of the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ of President Rajapaksa, the SLPA has been rightly directed at present to maximise all the strengths and capacities to efficiently work towards the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka. Through the accurate guidance by President Rajapaksa, MRMRP at present is rapidly developing the potential to bring prosperity not only to the country but also to the whole region.