Capacity Crunch

Sept 04, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Colombo port is nearing its maximum capacity ahead of forecasts owing to a rapid growth in cargo volumes, the head of the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority said. Container volumes through Colombo are growing at almost 24 percent now compared with 2009, Wickrama said.

The number of containers handled by SLPA terminals is expected to hit the 200,000 TEU mark for a single month in September for the first time.

SLPA terminals reached 195,000 TEU in august 2010, Wickrama said.

A new deep draft port is under construction next to the existing port to cater to growth in volumes and handle bigger ships. SLPA chairman Priyath Wickrama said the authorities were getting new equipment and revamping terminal operations to get more out of existing facilities until a new prot under construction became operational.

Colombo port will reach its 4.5 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit or container) capacity by end-2011 although studies by international port consultants had forecast the volume would be reached only by end-2012, he said.

Colombo port handled 2.08 million TEU in 2006 and is forecast to pass the four million TEU mark in 2010, having suffere