May 27, Colombo: Sri Lanka, in a move to improve the country's shipping industry has taken steps to purchase two bulk carrier ships from China for the national shipping line of the country .
The state-owned Ceylon Shipping Corporation Limited (CSCL) will purchase two 63,600 MT DWT bulk carrier ships built by the AVIC International Beijing Company Ltd at Weihai, China at a cost of US$ 35 million each.
The need for acquiring ships for CSCL in order to build up a national fleet in the interest of the country and the national economy has been announced in the 2014 budget and the cabinet has given its approval for the purchase.
The ships are mainly intended for transporting of thermal coal imported for the coal fired Norochcholai power plant.
They are specially designed to add an extra deck at an extra cost to accommodate around 25 persons in addition to its standard crew complement, with a view to providing training for Sri Lankan Deck and Engineering Cadets who passes out from Sri Lanka Marine Colleges.
Chairman of the CSCL, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, who is also the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, signed a loan agreement today with the People's Bank for the purchase of the two ships.
The first vessel is expected to be delivered by 31st October January 2015 and the second vessel is expected on 31st January 2016.
The ships, which are being purchased by CSCL after 30 years, will partly replace the foreign owned ships currently being used for coal transport to the country. The purchase will save a substantial amount of foreign exchange now being remitted out of the country for freight. Further it is expected to provide employment for the Sri Lankan seafarers and create of shore-based employments.