Container handling at the Colombo port bounced back in December.
The Port had handled 309,009 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in December up by 19% in comparison to the corresponding month of 2008. Volume handled by SLPA terminals grew by 12.5% to 153,317 TEUs.
SLPA said in November the northern entrance of Colombo port, which had been kept closed for years because of the possibility of attack by LTTE terrorists, was reopened. Earlier, the SLPA had also completed the dredging of the northern entrance to Colombo port, to service the increasing number of vessels at the port.
The northern entrance of Colombo port was reopened according to a request made by the SLPA, to facilitate smoother maritime transportation. The Minister of Ports, Aviation, Irrigation and Water Management, Chamal Rajapaksa, acknowledging the importance of this step, took the initiative to reopen the northern entrance, with the approval of President Rajapaksa.
Expressing his views on the occasion, Minister Rajapaksa stated that since the end of the war on terrorism, all steps have been taken through 'Mahinda Chinthana' to ease all restrictions which hindered the economic and social development of the country. He also said that the re-opening of the northern entrance of the Colombo Port will result in increasing efficiency and a higher productivity level at the port.
At a special function held at the port recently, the Chairman of SLPA, Dr.Priyath Bandu Wickrama, said that SLPA was taking all measures to increase the productivity of the port while ensuring that all its employees enjoyed better welfare and other benefits. There are mega investments to develop the port sector around the country, aimed at the future economic and social development of Sri Lanka. He also stated that the reopening of the northern entrance of the Colombo port will not only improve the port of Colombo but would also ease the congestion of maritime transportation in the entire region.
He added that the Port of Colombo can go ahead with its operations as one of the most secure container ports in the world.
In the latter part of last year, the Golden Gate Pendulum Service owned by the Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), commenced using the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of SLPA on a weekly basis, projecting more than 1800 moves per vessel.
At a recent reception of another giant liner of ZIM Integrated Shipping Service (ZISS), 'ZIM COLOMBO', the Managing Director of SLPA, Capt. Nihal Keppetipola stated that "new arrivals of such lines at SLPA is of great significance to Sri Lanka. We are proud of these achievements, especially at a time when the green shoots of recovery from the global economic meltdown were appearing".
In terms of machinery and other resources, SLPA is well equipped to handle the world's largest existing and future container vessels, and to deliver unsurpassed standards of service and productivity to its customers.