Sri Lanka port capacity crunch could lead to lost business

ECONOMYNEXT – Further delays in adding container handling capacity at Sri Lanka’s Colombo port, which is nearing full capacity, could lead to lost business with shipping lines going elsewhere, an industry official warned.

Tissa Wickramasinghe, Chief Operating Officer of Hambantota International Port Group (Pvt) Ltd., said plans to develop the East Container Terminal of the new Colombo South Harbour had been stuck for over two years.

The situation was getting critical as terminals were nearing capacity in Colombo port whose container volumes were also growing fast, he told a forum held by the Asia Securities brokerage where its new study on the logistics sector was presented.

“We are trying to get the government to fast track the East Terminal,” Wickramasinghe said. “If it does not come we don’t stand a chance.

India was fast tracking development of its own container terminals with the aim of reducing the flow of transhipment cargo through hubs like Colombo.

If Colombo port does not create more deep-water terminal capacity to handle the latest generation ultra large container vessels, shipping lines could shift their calls elsewhere.

“If Colombo port does not expend in the next year the ports sector will have huge problems,” Wickramasinghe said.

The EOI (Expressions of Interest) for the East Terminal was opened two years ago and five of the global top players took documents, he said.

But since then there has been no progress, Wickramasinghe said.

“If capacity is not built the supply chain will be in trouble.”
(COLOMBO, 13 December 2018)





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