ECONOMYNEXT – Hambantota International Port (HIP) has handled its first shipment for the cement industry, enabling a manufacturer to enjoy economies of scale of using larger vessels, as the harbour diversifies its bulk cargo business.
A statement said the bulk carrier, Ithaca Patience, docked at Hambantota recently to discharge 27,150MT of slag cargo, an additive used in the manufacture of cement.
“The operation was successfully completed with high levels of efficiency, peaking at 11,000 MT on some days,” it said.
Slag cargo was usually discharged off smaller vessels in the past at Galle harbour, which lacks the draught clearance or depth for larger bulk vessels.
“The advantage of bringing in bigger ships provides economy of scale, and the efficiency with high productivity levels has made Hambantota Port the preferred option for the cement industry operating in the south,” said Tissa Wickramasinghe, chief operating officer of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG).
“In addition, prior to handling this cargo, we have complied with all regulatory environmental requirements and precautions as recommended bythe Central Environment Authority.”
Thusith Gunawarnasuriya, Director of Procurement and Logistics, INSEE Cement, the consignee of the slag cargo, said that he would be looking at monthly or even bi-monthly shipments to HIP to cater to the recently expanded INSEE cement manufacturing capacity in the island’s south.
“This whole operation was cost effective and convenient.”
INSEE had been operating through the Colombo, Trincomalee and Galle ports previously.
Wickramasinghe of HIPG said the slag cargo shipment was a considerable cost saving for INSEE Cement in terms of economies of scale, as HIP has a deeper draught that can accommodate large bulk carriers.
The slag shipment has further diversified the activities of the Hambantota International Port, which is now positioned to be Sri Lanka’s number one multipurpose port, he said. T
The port has the necessary infrastructure to provide services such as container handling, general cargo, vehicles, passengers, oil, bulk terminal, gas and project cargo.