Reforms yield productivity gains at Sri Lanka port
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has improved productivity at its container terminals in Colombo port by depoliticising the workforce and introducing professionalism, Minister of Ports & Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga said. Gross crane productivity at the Jaya Container Terminals has grown 17% in 2016 compared with 2015, he told a news conference held to announce SLPA preparations to mark its 37th anniversary on 1 August 2016. "That’s the result of new systems being introduced. Improved productivity has helped JCT gain the confidence of shipping lines,” Ranatunga said. “When we took over the administration of SLPA last year, crane productivity was 18-19 containers an hour. We raised it to 27 containers an hour and aim raise it further to 30 containers an hour.” Ranatunga said cranes at the JCT, one of the first container terminals in Colombo port, are old while private terminals whose cranes are new, have crane productivity of 32-33 boxes an hour. The Jaya Container Terminal, which used to have idle time of 165 minutes a day in 2015, had reduced idle time by 70 minutes to 95 minutes in 2016, he said. “In future, we aim to get new cranes for JCT but our problem is lack of funds. We have heavy debt repayments on loans taken to build Hambantota port.” Profit earned by Colombo port is being used to pay off the debt taken to build Hambantota on the south coast. Ranatunga also said the ports of Galle and Trincomalee, which used to make losses, are now making profits.