Box Trade

June 08, 2009 (LBO) – A container terminal in Colombo port in which Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings (JKH) group has a big stake said volumes have recovered after five consecutive months of falls. South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), a key source of profit for JKH which has a 42.2 percent stake in the facility, handled 143,453 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units of boxes) in May 2009, up 1.3 percent from a year ago.

It was the first time in the year that volumes rose and it also was the highest monthly container throughput since October 2008.

The slight increase in container volumes in May halted a slide in throughput of five consecutive months as the port was affected by a contraction in global trade flows owing to recession.

SAGT was also affected by the loss of a big client, APL, to the competing state-owned Jaya Container Terminal, at the end of last year.

The volume of containers handled by SAGT up to May 2009 was still down seven percent at 653,124 TEUs from the same period in 2008.

Almost all container ports in the world have handled lower volumes this year owing to the slide in global trade.

But container volumes in regional ports, including Colombo, had been g