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ADB-backed master plan to boost port development

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) held discussions last week on expediting work on the National Port Master Plan to develop the port and shipping sector, for which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has proposed several models following a study conducted by the bank, Ports, Shipping and Southern Development, Sagala Ratnayake told the media at the launch of the SLPA news website in Colombo last week.

He said SLPA has taken steps to fast track work on the Master Plan which was a timely need to meet the growing demands in the port sector.

The ADB study on the port sector focused on meeting the supply and demand of the ports in Sri Lanka up to 2050. “Currently we are developing three terminals, the JCT (Jaya Container Terminal), SAGT (South Asia Gateway Terminals and the CICT (Colombo International Container Terminal) of the Colombo South Port, but there are no plans as yet with regard to the North port which will be looked into by the SLPA soon,” the Minister said, adding that the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port will also be developed after technical evaluations have been completed to ensure there will be no harm to the West terminal.

Plans to develop the North Port were also on the agenda at the discussions according to the minister, who said certain sections of the Port have already being developed.

“We hope to develop capacity to berth three ships in the port which currently could only accommodate one. I have requested for views from experts on this and when we get them we will go ahead with plans to develop the port,” the minister said.

The Oluvil port will be developed for fisheries and the Kankesanthurai (KKS) port will be developed under a US$ 44 million credit line from India. The KKS port will comprise two terminals for naval and port related activities and an industrial zone.

The SLPA has received one billion Yen from Japan to commence night navigation in the Trincomalee port.

“I will be visiting the Hambantota Port shortly and decide what has to be done to develop it,” Minister Ratnayake said. Responding to what progress has been made on liberalising the port sector, the minister said there is a lot happening with regard to liberalising the sector which will help to improve competitiveness. However, he said the move has to be reviewed properly to ensure there are no negative repercussion on the sector.

On the delays to develop the East Container Terminal and facilities at the Colombo Port in keeping with the ports in the region and elsewhere, Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Southern Development, Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake said the Colombo Port was ranked the world’s fastest growing port last year ahead of the port of Singapore. Transshipment which accounts for around 80 percent of the Colombo Port’s operations increased by 19.3 percent and transshipment by JCT grew by 20.3 percent last year.

“All these show that the SLPA had plans and the right level of efficiency,” Dr. Dissanayake said.
Source: Sunday Observer

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