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Sunday December 10th, 2023

Sri Lanka’s SAGT orders more twin lift cranes STS cranes, raising capacity

MODERNISING: SAGT said it re-fleeted over 65 of its terminal tractors with 46 new Terberg units.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s South Asia Gateway Terminals said it had ordered two ship-to-shore cranes which will be delivered in March 22, which can potentially boost output by about 15 percent.

The new STS cranes will increase the terminal’s quayside capabilities to five twin-lift and seven single-lift STS cranes, SAGT said.

Two existing single lift cranes will be replaced.

Based on an average 25 moves an hour, a twin lift could move 50 containers per hour.

However the terminal is constrained by yard space, putting a limit on how many cranes can be upgraded.

Ted Muttiah, Chief Commercial Officer of SAGT said containers are now waiting longer at the port for the next ship after the Covid-19 crisis, which has affected all terminals in Colombo.

He said the turn time which was around 4 days in the past has increased to 10 to 12 in some cases, leading to boxes filling up existing yard space, with fewer ships.

There was congestion in the Port of Chittagong in Bangladesh.

Higher rates from East Asia to Europe was encouraging more mainlines to sail direct and there was not much space left for hubs in the middle, he said.

SAGT said it re-fleeted over 65 of its terminal tractors with 46 new Terberg units.

SAGT said it had was using digitalized clearance to help customers with faster clearance of goods with email based processing of documents and issuance of electronic delivery advice (e-D/A)

“This enabled customers to have the convenience of carrying out their clearance activities while in the comfort and safety of their own homes,” SAGT said.

“SAGT followed up this initiative with an integrated, secure online platform added on to its online portal, e-Port, which allows customers the convenience of calculating charges and making payment online via an online electronic payment process.

“e-Port has further extended benefits to the customer through the automated reconciliation of payments received via the online payment platform and real-time generation of the invoice via the system.”

“That innovation was combined with an electronic release by Sri Lanka Customs, thus automating and making contactless a physical and manual process that the trade had been endeavoring to change for almost a quarter of a century.”

SAGT is also offering an automatic extension of the import container gate pass validity to 6am on the day after the gate-pass expiry which allows truckers additional free time to pick-up import containers without delay or terminal storage charges for an additional 6 hours.

SAGT in March 2021 also deployed Container Top Safety Work Cages for onboard container unlashing/lashing operations, especially in bad weather improving productivity as well as worker safety especially in bad weather.

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ADB USD200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”

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Sri Lank in blackout as power grid hit by cascading failure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka suffered a blackout as Saturday evening as the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board grid was hit by a cascading power failure.

The cascading failure is believed to have been triggered by the failure of the Kothmale-Biyagama transmission line.

“The Ceylon Electricity Board wishes to inform our customers that due to the failure of Kotmale – Biyagama main transmission line, an island wide power failure has occurred,” CEB Spokesman Noel Priyantha said.

“Step by step restorations are underway and it may take few hours to completely restore the power supply.”

With hydro plants running flat out, a outage of the line tends to create a big imbalance in the demand and supply, leading to tripping of more lines and generators.

Lines can trip due to lightening strikes, or equipment failures.

Sri Lanka last suffered a cascading failure in December 2021, due to the failure of the same transmission line.

RelatedSri Lanka power blackout as grid hit by cascading failure

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Sri Lanka to host regional Food and Agriculture Organization conference

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will host the 37th session of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), from February 19-22, 2024 in Colombo.

The Conference will bring together agriculture ministers and officials from 46 countries across the region to discuss challenges in food and agriculture.

“The 37th APRC will provide a vital platform for regional collaboration, benefitting the agricultural landscape, fisheries sector and environment of Sri Lanka,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said at a press briefing on Friday (8) to announce the conference.

FAO has had an active presence in Sri Lanka for over 40 years. “FAO has supported the country in the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and the development of the fisheries sector for growth and climate resilience,” Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“The APRC conference will be an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches introduced in partnership with the government.”

By hosting APRC, Sri Lanka hopes to demonstrate the country’s dedication to the growth of sustainable agriculture, and showcase its commitment to sustainable agricultural development.

The APRC agenda will include a forum on agritourism, especially requested by the Sri Lankan government.

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