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Big plans for Port of Colombo
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Author:  Peter [ Fri Aug 03, 2007 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Big plans for Port of Colombo

Lanka braces for huge port expansion project

Colombo currently handles around 3 million TEUs against a capacity of 3.7 million TEUs, the plan is to enhance its capacity three-fold over the next few years.

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© 2007: Indian Express
By ZEENAT NAZIR / 03 August 2007


NEW DELHI, August 2: India may be gearing up its port infrastructure to capture a major chunk of the maritime business passing through the Indian Ocean, but its southern neighbour, Sri Lanka, is not far behind in the race. Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) has set the ball rolling for an ambitious expansion of its principal port, Port of Colombo, with the purpose of wresting India’s hopes of usurping its position as the “Gateway to South Asia”.

Last month, SLPA concluded the bidding of an important new terminal set to come up under the South Harbour project — a new outer deepwater harbour being developed next to the Port of Colombo, partly funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). “We have just finished bidding for the construction and operation of a modern terminal under the South Harbour plan,” Sri Lanka additional secretary (ports) K V P Ranjith DeSilva told The Indian Express. “We expect the investment here to be around $600 million and plan to complete it in three years.”

The terminal will have three berths, which will together handle 2.4 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) every year. Besides this terminal, three more are proposed under the South Harbour scheme, each of which, when completed, will handle 2.4 million TEUs of cargo. So, while Colombo currently handles around 3 million TEUs against a capacity of 3.7 million TEUs, the plan is to enhance its capacity three-fold over the next few years.

Additionally, the proposed harbour will initially have a depth of 18 metres, with provisos to increase the depth to 23 metres over a period of time to accommodate new-age vessels. Contrast this with the average depth at major Indian ports, which stands at 10-12 metres, and it becomes evident that the new harbour is set to pose significant competitive pressure to the southern ports in India — Kochi, Chennai, Vizag. “India is investing a lot in improving port infrastructure and we are sure of maintaining our competitiveness through such projects,” DeSilva said. “The shipping business will go to the country or port that provides better facilities. By upping infrastructure, we will be taking advantage of our strategic closeness to global shipping lines.”

While Sri Lanka is set to aggressively see through its port expansion projects, Indian officials aren’t too worried about the competition it might pose. Says a senior official with the Department of Shipping: “With our new container trans-shipment terminal coming up at Vallarpadam near Kochi , we will be making sure that all the inbound and outbound container trans-shipment traffic that earlier went to Sri Lanka will now come to India.”

The National Maritime Development Programme envisages doubling of the cargo handling capacity of the 12 major Indian ports to 820 million tonnes per annum by fiscal 2011-12.


• Four terminals planned, each with a capacity of 2.4 million TEUs per annum

• $300 million investment in Phase 1 and $700 million in Phase 2of South Harbour project

• When completed, capacity of Colombo port to more than triple to around 12 million TEUs

• Will put pressure on south Indian ports, which have an average draught of 10 metres against 18 metres proposed under South Harbour


Related:
:arrow: COLOMBO SOUTH HARBOUR DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

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