The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said yesterday that it has taken all necessary measures to facilitate registered Bunker License Holders to import and supply marine fuel to vessels utilising the facilities set up at the above location.
Steps have been taken to construct a storage tank with a capacity of 5,200 MT at a cost of Rs. 110 million to enhance the present storage capacity of 29,500 MT. It has been proposed to lay foundation stone for the replacement of the existing obsolete pipelines at a cost of Rs. 150 million to improve the efficiency in transfer of marine fuel from the Port of Colombo to the Colombo Oil Bank.
SLPA has developed the New North Pier as a multipurpose berth at a cost of Rs. 30 million for the berthing of oil tankers. Steps are being taken to strengthen the South Pier by providing additional facilities by the Ports Authority at a cost of Rs. 25 million.
SLPA also said a feasibility study is being conducted to identify the most suitable location to construct another tank for the storage of marine diesel oil which will cost approximately Rs. 90 million. SLPA plans to enhance capacity at the Colombo Oil Bank up to 95,000 MT.
“We are in the process of replacing engines, pumps at the pump house with boilers, fire fighting equipment and other equipment at a cost of Rs. 60 million to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services rendered by the Colombo Oil Bank,” the SLPA said.
In the meantime, salaries of the employees have been increased by 15% with a payment of Rs. 3,000 as a monthly terminal allowance with effect from November 2009. Whilst providing all employee welfare amenities, a number of steps have been taken to improve the working environment of the employees. SLPA’s objective is to improve the quality of the services provided to the Bunker License Holders to enable them to supply bunkers at competitive prices with a view to develop Sri Lanka as a bunker hub in the near future.
The aggressive foray into bunkering follows the property at No. 69, Wales Lane, Colombo 15 being vested with SLPA from 15 September 2008 by a judgment issued by the Supreme Court.
Eight Bunker License Holders registered in 2008 have now been increased to 11. Facilities to accommodate excess quantities of petroleum products based on the import plans will be arranged at the weekly meetings. Marine fuel supplied to vessels at the Port of Colombo in 2008 had been approximately 21,000 MT and this has now been increased up to 27,000 MT.
Following the policy of the Government to establish air, maritime, energy, commercial and knowledge hubs under the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ programme, the SLPA has taken a number of steps to develop Sri Lanka as a bunkering hub, a statement said.