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Sunday, 10 June 2012

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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.

Hyundai cars manufactured in India are parked alongside the carrier ship Asian Sun

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.

 

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