Overall port activities are expected to increase rapidly over the next 12 to 18 months. This rapid increase is due to the expansion of the Colombo South Port terminal, the opening of the new Hambantota bulk terminal, increased trans-shipment activities within South Asia, substitution of long-distance land-based transport with coastal shipments, and the commencement of regular East Africa sea transport services.
Colombo Port will reach its maximum throughput capacity of 4.5 m TEUs by 2012. By then, the first phase of the new south harbour terminal will be ready, improving overall functionality and adding an initial 2.5 m TEUs of capacity. Three more terminals with a capacity of 2.5 m TEUs each will also be added through 2020.
“Construction of the Hambantota Port Phase I, has progressed well and 80 percent of the work is complete. The first ship is scheduled to enter the Port in November,” Ports and Aviation Ministry Secretary, K V P Ranjith de Silva said at the “Sri Lanka Unveiled” forum recently.
Hambantota Port is a Greenfield industrial marine development. The port will cater to bulk shipments and overall industrial activities. The facility is unique as it is being constructed in an enclosed lagoon under dry conditions, significantly lowering construction costs. The harbour will be opened to the sea and flooded, once the sub sea infrastructure works are complete in August. The port should be operational from end- 2010.
First phase will include facilities for oil and LPG storage, bunkering, ship repair, ship building, crew changing, cement manufacturing, fertilizer bagging, factory operations, bulk cargo handling, and roll-on-roll-off services. Phase II of the project is expected to include facilities for vehicle assembly, and additional warehousing and container handling. Trincomalee is the second largest natural harbour in the world. The available water and land area is about 10x greater than the Colombo Port. However, it’s unfortunate proximity to the previous civil unrest has left this valuable resource vastly under-utilized.
The SLPA is currently exploring ways to redevelop Trincomalee to complement Sri Lanka’s planned maritime operations in the effort to make it a leading port in the country.