Nov 30, Colombo: Two vessels owned by global French transportation and shipping group CMA CGM made their maiden call at Hambantota International Port (HIP) last week.
The vessels which were scheduled to call at the Colombo Port, was diverted to Hambantota for the transshipment of 450 units, and 722 TEUs.
Singaporean flag bearing MV ‘Glacier Bay’ carrying containerized cargo from the Jebel Ali Port in Dubai berthed at the port on 25 November to discharge containerized cargo including reefer containers for transshipment.
The cargo bound for several European ports with the final destination of Durban, was loaded on to MV ‘Aldi Wave’ which docked at the Hambantota Port the following day. The ship sailing under the Cyprus flag arrived from Nava Shiva to take the transshipment cargo as the discharging vessel ‘Glacier Bay’ was returning to Singapore from where she would join another service. Although the relay transshipment was scheduled to take place at the Colombo Port the entire operation was moved to Hambantota to avoid delays caused by congestion at that port.
“Since the Hambantota Port could handle this move, we quickly got the paperwork ready and moved the operation to Hambantota, who efficiently handled the transshipment. Four containers earmarked for Colombo, were also discharged in Hambantota and are to be sent by road under customs supervision. Overall operation concluded smoothly at the Hambantota Port and is a great alternative because previously we lost two vessels to India due to similar problems. We are glad the Hambantota Port could be used this time complementing the Colombo Port and the vessels were retained for Sri Lanka,” said CMA CGM Sri Lanka Group Director Ikram Ghazali.
The transshipment operation was carried out maintaining strict health and safety protocols. “The Hambantota Port is to an extent isolated and we are doing regular PCR checks for all our employees coming into our premises from outside areas. We greatly appreciate the opportunity given to us by CMA CGM to handle this transshipment operation. While it is an advantage for the Hambantota Port we are also helping the Colombo Port by providing an alternative to handle transshipments and moreover, we are ensuring that transshipment volumes stay within Sri Lanka, fulfilling our promise of positioning the Hambantota Port to build capacity for the country,” says Sylesh Peerez, Senior General Manager Operations of HIPG.