Better Defence

August 28, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan security authorities plan to re-open Colombo port’s northern entrance for navigation once underwater defence systems being tested are installed and activated. The planned re-opening will remove a key constraint that has caused lengthy delays for cargo ships and raised costs for both shipping lines and port terminals.

The delays were seen as endangering Colombo’s competitiveness as south Asia’s transshipment hub.

A meeting was held last week between port authorities and the navy which is in charge of the port security to review harbour security measures.

The authorities in recent weeks have been testing different underwater surveillance and intruder detection systems to enhance the defences of the port through which passes most of the island’s trade.

The northern entrance has remained closed for over a year to protect the port against Tamil Tiger attacks.

It meant the port has only one channel for vessel navigation, causing traffic jams where ships have to wait several hours to enter or leave the harbour.

The navigational delays means higher costs for both vessel operators as well as port terminal operators owing to the idle tim