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Colombo Port will handle over 24 m TEUs by 2040 : SLPA Chairman

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COLOMBO : Colombo Port is boosting capacity to handle a forecast demand of 24 million TEUs by 2040, its Chairman Capt. Nihal Keppetipola revealed recently.

“In addition to the eight million existing TEU capacity at the Port of Colombo, we will be adding another six million by 2025 by developing the East and West container terminals with a depth of 20 metres and having quay cranes of 26 across reach. We will also be adding another 10 million TEUs in the North Port which will give a total of 24 million TEU capacity at the Port of Colombo by 2040,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Keppetipola said.

He expressed these views at the inaugural session of the Multimodal Transportation Summit 2021, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) held recently under the theme, ‘Propelling India’s logistics efficiency to newer heights’.

India’s Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal was the Chief Guest at the summit which was held virtually.

The summit highlighted the growing investment opportunities in infrastructure, particularly ports and waterways sector, and deliberated upon the potential solutions for developing an integrated logistics and transportation network to support and make India’s trade and commerce globally competitive. It also focused on exchange of thoughts on the international experience in the Global Maritime sector and best practices across the world.

Speaking further the SLPA Chairman said that the plans already implemented in the maritime sector of Sri Lanka, would see the development of the Port of Colombo as a container and logistics hub, the Port of Galle as a tourist destination with a mixed development project having cruise terminals and the Port of Trincomalee as an Industrial Port.

“We will soon call RFPs to develop Trincomalee as an industrial port. We also have our plans to start a ferry service between Jaffna and Karikkal in Tamil Nadu,” he added.

“In addition, SLPA will go ahead with digitalised operations, cargo clearance, e-manifests, e-CusDec, e-delivery orders, e-CDNS, e-boat notes, e-payments, so that we will be paperless,” he said.

At present, the Port of Colombo handling over 7 million TEUs, is ranked the 15th Best Connectivity Port in the world, and Number 1 in South Asia. Globally, the port is ranked the 23rd in Throughput Handling.

India is a major player for Sri Lanka. He said 81% of total cargo handled at Colombo is transshipment and 70% of this business is linked to the Indian market.

Ship order book shows over 270 ships of over 10,000 TEU Ultra Large Container vessels have been ordered by the three major global alliances 2M, OA and TA who control over 80% of global shipboard capacity which will be delivered within the next few years. Between 7,500-10,000 TEUS there are none in the order book. Rest of the new buildings are all feeders. That means the Mega vessels have no plans to deviate from the East-West sea route, Capt. Keppetipola said.

India’s Sagarmala project costing over $ 140 billion with port infrastructure enhancement, modernisation and new port development, efficient evacuation to/from hinterland with new rail/road network will be in place in time to come.

“So, it’s my opinion that India and Sri Lanka should create a synergy in our trade, transport and logistics activities enhancing the supply chain activities smoothly via the Indian Sub-Continent developing SL as the Maritime Hub and Gateway of South Asia,” Chairman Keppetipola said.

CII National Committee on Railways (Transport) Chairman and Gateway Rail Freight Ltd. CEO and Whole Time Director Sachin Bhanushali, PSA International, Singapore Regional CEO – Middle East, South Asia and Head of Group Business Development Wan Chee Foong, Ministry of Commerce and Industry Additional Secretary – Logistic Amrit Lal Meena and CII Executive Director, Energy and Infrastructure Babu Khan also attended the event.

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