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Work on Colombo South Harbour gets under way by year's end?

Work on the Colombo South Harbour will commence towards the end of this year. It is urgent and mandatory that we go ahead with this project which will be of immense benefit to the shipping industry said Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Aviation, D. T. P. Collure.

Collure said the government is in the process of finding funds to commence work on the Colombo South Harbour by the end of this year. Though various parties have shown interest in funding the project no approval has been granted so far.

The development of the Colombo South Harbour is far behind time. The Port of Colombo handled a volume of 1.7 million twenty foot equalent units (TEUs) per annum from 1997 to 2002. At present, the Port of Colombo has an annual design capacity of 3.3 million TEUs. The demand for the use of the Port of Colombo will outpace the capacity by the end of 2008. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to expedite the development of the Colombo South Harbour to facilitate megaships to call at Colombo, said Chairman, CEO, Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd. Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake.

Due to the reforms undertaken by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) in 2002, the Port of Colombo handled approximately two million TEUs in 2003. The demand for the use of the Port of Colombo increased with the Jaya Container Terminal and South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) providing good terminal facilities during 2005. This demand is bound to increase by 10 to 12 percent in the next few years.

Dr. Dissanayake said in 1980 the average size of the ship was 975 TEUs with the largest ship being 3,057 TEUs. Today the average size of a ship is 2,191 TEUs with the largest ship in the world fleet being 9,200 TEUs. There are designs in place for the construction of 'Malacca Max' with a capacity of 18,100 TEUs and 'Samsung Suez Max' with a capacity of 14,000 TEUs.

Large ships require mega hub ports with modern deep sea facilities. Shipping Lines expect multiport service delivery. There is concentration of Shipping Line capacity. The top 15 Shipping Lines own and manage 81 percent of global shipboard capacity of approximately nine million TEUs.

The cost of developing the South, West and East terminals of Colombo South Harbour with the breakwater and dredging will be approximately US $ 1.6 billion. The first phase which includes the construction of the breakwater and dredging will be nearly US $ 320 million and the construction of the first terminal quay walls and equipment will cost around US $ 300 million.

The participation of the private sector in the development of the Colombo South Harbour is vital. The participation of the private and public sectors will expedite the development of the project.

 

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