Dec 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Port of Colombo has handled its 6 millionth TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) container on December 22.
A special function was held at the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to celebrate the handling of the 6 million TEU mark with the Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe attending as the chief guest.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister Samarasinghe said that it was commendable to witness the Port of Colombo has achieved great feats through public private collaboration.
"Deviating from the traditional competition, Sri Lanka Ports Authority controlled Jaya Container Terminal, privately owned SAGT and CICT together have proven of a success story we can continue to make the Port of Colombo the hub port in the region," the Minister said.
He thanked all officials, staffs and employees of SLPA, SAGT, CICT, shipping agents, freight forwarding agencies and stakeholders who always contributed in numerous ways to elevate the position of the Port of Colombo to higher standards amongst the container ports of the world.
SLPA Chairman Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake said it was a historic milestone to Sri Lanka Ports Authority as it was the collective effort of SLPA with the JCT, SAGT and the CICT handling 6 million containers for a year in the Port of Colombo.
"We have to be mindful of the marketing challenges we are expected to face. The commencement of operations of the East Terminal of the Colombo South Harbor in near future will see further increased efficiency in the Port of Colombo to attract more ships at its deep draft berths," Dr. Dissanayake said.
The Colombo Port marked the operation of its first TEU in the year of 1973. The constructions of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) controlled Jaya Container Terminalís stage - I was completed in 1985. The completion of the stage - II of the JCT in 1987, stages - III and IV in 1995 and 1996 respectively marked the increase of operation volumes of the Port of Colombo.
South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) at the Port of Colombo commenced operations in 1999.
In 2002, SLPA with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) initiated the construction of the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) which is known as the Colombo South Harbor today. The new harbor was constructed with plans to accommodate the ever increasing Ultra Large Container Vessels. Its first terminal known as the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) was completed with the investment of over US$ 500 million as a PPP loan and on BOT model. The CICT of Colombo South Harbor came into operations in 2013.
With the rapid development of port infrastructure including the construction of new terminals and the public private partnership in operations at the Port of Colombo, the handling capacity of the Port of Colombo dramatically increased.
The Port of Colombo, marked the achievement of handling 1 million TEUs in 1995. Although it took almost 9 years to reach the mark of 2 million TEUs collaboratively with the SAGT in 2004, the Port handled 3 million TEUs in 2006, 4 million TEUs in 2010 and 5 million TEUs collaboratively with the CICT in 2015.
Together with the latest developments in the Sri Lankan port sector, the 6 million TEUs mark this year is recorded through aggressive marketing strategies implemented in collaboration with the SAGT, CICT and the public sector controlled JCT to offer a world class service with the maximum customer satisfaction and the minimum vessel turnaround time, Minister Samarasinghe said.
The SLPA being the land lord, regulator and the port operator together with other terminals has been able to attract more Main Lines and Feeder Services to the Port of Colombo in 2017.
"With the latest initiatives implemented, all sectors of port operation show a rapid growth compared to similar periods during the past. A number of processes are being implemented in all commercial ports around the country under the purview of the SLPA to realize the vision of the government to develop Sri Lanka as the premier maritime hub of the region," the Minister said.
SLPA Vice Chairman P.G. Dasanayaka, Managing Director H.D.A.S. Premachandra, SAGT and CICT officials other stakeholders were present.