Call to improve infrastructure:
Shippers welcome unloading vehicles at MRMR Port
Shipping experts and vehicle importers said that to roll-on roll-off
vehicles at the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa (MRMR) Port,
Hambantota was a good move but infrastructure has to be developed to
import and transship vehicles. They said that logistical issues such as
parking facilities, fuel stations and road congestion arising due to
truck carriers should be addressed for the smooth delivery of vehicles.
manufactured in India are parked alongside the carrier ship
Bringing in imported vehicles through the new Port was mandatory from
the first week of this month as a move that would help reduce congestion
at the Colombo Port.Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) sources said that
due to congestion and delays the Colombo Port has lost transshipment
business which has triggered higher freight rates for imported cars.
Transshipped vehicles from the Colombo Port dropped from 4, 973 in
2009 to 2,455 in 2010 and 993 in 2011. Sathosa Motors PLC Executive
Director and Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) Chairman, Tilak
Gunasekera said that unloading vehicles at the MRMR Port was a good move
but infrastructure facilities such as parking and fuel stations are
vital for the smooth delivery of vehicles.
He said that parking facilities were essential for Pre-Delivery
Inspections (PDIs) and added that only semi PDIs can be carried under
the present scenario.
“Transportation of vehicles from Hambantota to Colombo will be costly
and the burden will be passed on to the end client”, Gunesekera said. A
vehicle importer said that unlike for cars, there aren't sufficient
truck carriers in the country.“Steps should be taken to expedite
expansion of the road from Galle to Hambantota to facilitate effective
transportation’, he said.
The MRMR Port is the largest port in the country and it is in one of
the world's busiest shipping lines - the east-west shipping route which
is six nautical miles (19 km) south of Hambantota.
Bunkering, ship repair, ship building and crew changing facilities
will be provided under the first phase of the project. The capacity of
the Port will be increased to 20 million TEUs a year.
Sri Lanka Shippers’ Academy CEO, Rohan Masakorala said that unloading
of vehicles at the MRMR Port will reduce delays in vehicle clearing time
in the Colombo port.
SLPA will give considerable reduction on port tariff to liners in
Hambantota, which should be passed on to the end client.
Customs and other on-line facilities should be provided to port users
so that the documentation process will be smooth.“It is a good move to
send roll-on- roll-off vessels to the new port as such operations need
space and land which is a key factor. Sri Lanka should promote the Port
for more car carriers as a hub for re-distribution to South Asia and
East Africa”, Masakorala said.
“It is a good move by SLPA but we should not subsidise tariff for a
long period, but offer volume discounts to clients and service ship
operators faster with more value added services”, he said. Ports and
Aviation Committee of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka,
Chairman Sujeiva Samaraweera said that steps taken to anchor
role-on-roll-off vessels at the MRMR Port will help position the new
port as a dedicated and a state-of-the -art facility in the maritime and
transportation sector in the region.