Ultra large container ship Thalassa Hellas makes maiden call in Colombo

Monday, 14 October 2013 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Colombo’s new deep draft terminal constructed under the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) received the largest container ship to have ever called at the Port of Colombo on 8 October. This 13,808 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS) MV Thalassa Hellas is operated by the global ocean career Evergreen Line. Incidentally, the environment-conscious Evergreen Line won the prestigious Lloyd’s List Environmental Award a few days ago after a rigorous judging process which culminated with Evergreen Line emerging as the top choice out of five shipping companies in the competition.   The introduction of Thalassa Hellas to Evergreen fleet marks its first entry into the ultra-large class container ship league. It also signifies the confidence and continuous commitment Evergreen Line has towards Colombo as its main hub port and the major business partner in the region. Exporters and importers also will benefit tremendously as a result of additional capacity introduced which would eventually help them to move their in and out-bound volumes with relative ease. Thalassa Hellas has been deployed in Evergreen’s Far East Europe Service (CEM Service) calling ports of Quindao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Colombo, Suez Canal, Rotterdam, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Zeebrugge, Suez Canal, Colombo, Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Quindao. The first terminal of the CPEP, Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) was constructed on a Built Own Transfer (BOT) agreement with a Public-Private-Partnership between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and the China Merchants Holdings (International) Co., Ltd. (CMHI). The CPEP, with a total annual container throughput of 7.2 Million TEUs and a monumental breakwater of 6.8 Km, augmented container handling capacity with facilities to serve mega ships was bestowed upon the nation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 5 August 2013. A ceremony was held on board the vessel MV Thalassa Hellas in commemoration of the service’s maiden call at the CICT of the Port of Colombo, on 8 October 2013. To mark the significance of this move, plaques were exchanged among officials of SLPA, Evergreen Line and CICT. Chairman Dr. Priyath B Wickrama, Managing Director Capt. Nihal Keppetipola and Director (Operations) Upali Zoysa represented SLPA at the ceremony. Capt. Wang Yeo-Shin, Evergreen Representative in Colombo, participating at the ceremony expressed his extreme satisfaction over Colombo’s fast development as the maritime hub of South Asia and stated that Evergreen Line was very happy to patronise Colombo. Dr. Wickrama commented: “Sri Lanka’s international Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is none other than its hub positioning, located equidistant from West and the Far East. I am happy that the Government of Sri Lanka is currently geared to exploit this geo-strategic feature with promising port development projects.” Capt. Keppetipola stated: “There are 17 Evergreen services calling over Colombo and even the biggest Evergreen ship is now touching Colombo. I am proud to say that fortunately CICT had been constructed at the right time to accommodate ULCSs. In future, CICT together with East Container Terminal run by SLPA will shoulder our way to become the mega hub in South Asia.” Nelson Liu, CEO of CICT, said: “CMHI’s decision to enter into a partnership with SLPA is a very fruitful one and by the end of this month another 600 meters of the quay will be completed, three months ahead of schedule. The day that the entire terminal will be fully-fledged is not far away.” Green Lanka Shipping Director (Marketing) Kanishka Jayasinghe remarked: “Our principals are eager to help Colombo mark its global presence by making its global services call over Colombo and we, Green Lanka Shipping, are really proud to be associated with the prestigious Evergreen Line for over 24 years from the inception of its services to Colombo.” Master of the ship MV Thalassa Hellas Capt. Antonios Koutras also expressed his extreme contentment over the excellent manner in which the ship was handled by the concerted efforts of CICT and SLPA staff.