June 18, 2007 (LBO) – South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), Colombo Port’s privatised container facility, aims to handle 1.6 million containers by the end of this year, as India’s bulging trade volumes increase the flow of cargo through the harbour. SAGT’s new chief executive, Steven Edkins, believes Colombo will retain its status as South Asia’s transhipment hub despite the expansion and recent cuts in tariffs in Indian ports and direct calls there by shipping lines.
In May 2007, SAGT container throughput, measured in Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) increased 9.1 percent year-on-year to 118,602.
“Demand is largely from the Indian sub-continent,” Edkins, who has over 30 years experience in ports and container shipping having worked previously for P&O, said in an interview.
“We’re aiming to improve berth use that’ll allow us to accommodate the increasing number of customers.”
SAGT handled 1.3 million containers in 2006, much higher than the one million boxes it was originally designed for.
Container volumes at Colombo increased by 26 percent in the first quarter of this year, with more than three-quarters being transhipped.
SAGT has bid for the first container terminal in the new South