Vessels deployed by Hapag Lloyd in New Europe Mascarene Oceania Service (NEMOS) which is jointly operated by the same company in partnership with CMA-CGM commenced patronizing SLPA/JCT with effect from today. Hapag Lloyd had been patronizing SAGT, SLPA's sister terminal, with NEMO service until recently.
bration of the significance of this move to SLPA/JCT, a plaque exchange ceremony was held on board the vessel Ottawa Express, on her maiden voyage at SLPA/JCT, yesterday between SLPA Chairman, the Managing Director and the Master of the vessel Capt. Zvonko Barac and the officials of Spence Shipping (Pvt) Ltd., the local agent for Hapag-Lloyd.
The SLPA was quite instrumental in the recent past in attracting several container lines and cruise lines to JCT by convincing them of the promise and potentialities of the current development landscape in port construction in Sri Lanka, under the present regime. The Mahinda Chintana program, which lays emphasis on port construction, recently conducted an IMF team to the Hambantota port construction site for inspection of the progress and the mission was very impressed by the rapid progress the project has made thus far.
The first stage of the Hambantota Port Development project is to be completed by the end of this year at a total cost of US $ 361 million. An oil tank farm with 14 tanks under an investment of US $ 76 million is also being constructed at the Hambantota port.
The tank farm consists of eight tanks for fuel bunkering facilities for vessels while three are set apart for storage of aero fuel and three for storing LP Gas. Once the Hambantota Port is completed, vessels could save nearly three hours' sailing time, fuel and enjoy a number of other benefits.
The other mega development project that the SLPA attaches great importance is the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP), the infrastructure of which is constructed by SLPA at a cost of Rs. 36 billion. Around 2200m of the breakwater construction work has so far been completed and almost 80 percent of the reclamation work and half of the dredging work is also completed. CPEP's first container terminal's construction activities will commence in the second quarter of this year under a BOT agreement and currently discussions are being held between SLPA and the selected bidder, China Merchants Holdings Company Limited. It is expected that the agreement will be finalized in the course of the next couple of weeks.
SLPA Chairman, Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama said, "During the last two months our volumes are up 20 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. The cargo forecasts done by Scott Wilson, a few years ago had stated in their final report that the potential for container cargo at Colombo is tremendous and that the port would be reaching its maximum capacity around 4.5 million TEUs in 2012. SLPA has already started capacity expansion projects and last year its age-old Terminal Operating System at JCT was replaced with Navis - SPARCS and Navis - EXPRESS with a DGPS-based communication system to monitor container stacking and RFID tags to automatically track the location of containers and prime movers in the yard. I firmly believe that this is our order qualifying and order winning criteria in which shippers have placed great confidence.
We are determined to offer them an unsurpassed service that none can match in the region". SLPA Managing Director, Capt. Nihal Keppetipola said "The shift of the NEMO partner Hapag-Lloyd to SLPA/JCT from SAGT is a clear demonstration of the trust that shippers and lines have placed in the state-run terminal at a time like this when Sri Lanka has brought its macro-economic fundamentals into good shape after a 30-year war.
There is expression of continuous confidence in the economy. According to IMF literature our external balances are strong, remittance inflows continue at a high rate, tourism prospects are rapidly improving and our gross reserves remain at a comfortable level".
"When the country is poised for a post-war economic revival, we expect a peace-led windfall of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). So there will be development everywhere soon resulting in a strong demand for logistics services. Therefore the onus is on us to fully contribute to this development drive as the only State-run logistics and port services provider" he further said.
NEMO will offer connections all over the world via its main hubs at Damietta, Malta, La Spezia, Tilbury, Hamburg, Antwerp, Leharve, FOS, La spezia, Damietta, Suez, Djibouti, Port Reunion, Port Louis, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, Lyttelton, Melbourne, Adelaide, Jakarta, Port Kelang, Chennai and Colombo.