Sri Lanka port terminal co-operation mooted to ease congestion

ECONOMYNEXT – Worsening congestion at Sri Lanka’s Colombo port could be eased with more co-operation among its competing cargo terminals to speed up loading and unloading of vessels, an official said.

Sirimevan Ranasinghe, secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping & Southern Development, said this was one of the top priorities facing the liner shipping and cargo terminal operators.

Co-operation among terminals would enable the port to optimize use of existing infrastructure, which has come under strain owing to delays in building the East Container Terminal.

“There is a need for cooperation and co-ordination between terminals because even if we start today on infrastructure building, to commission the ECT we will need a minimum of 18 months,” he told a logistics forum where German companies were represented.

“To create immediate capacity with available facilities we need co-ordination and co-operation among container terminal,” Ranasinghe told the ‘German-Sri Lankan Logistic Conference 2019’ organized by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka.

“That will fill the gaps. We can’t compare this with building a 1,000 metre terminal but we may be able to save a certain number of hours within a day and accommodate an additional vessel move or two, which might save a line from leaving us.”

Global shipping lines and local agents have been complaining about the delay in adding container handling capacity at Colombo port where commissioning of the ECT has been delayed for years.

Colombo risks losing business if congestion worsens and no new capacity is added, shipping officials said.
(COLOMBO, 06 Sep, 2019)