Hurry Call

Dec 12, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan port workers Wednesday urged the government to speed up a new project to expand Colombo port, saying further delays could jeopardise its transhipment business and hub status. Unions representing a wide range of workers in Colombo port said the Colombo south port expansion project was a vital and urgent necessity not only to retain container business but also to develop the country.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Executive Officers Union convenor P. Ranatunga warned that the government should be mindful when awarding the tender for the first container terminal in the new port, saying there were dangers in giving it to a competitor port operator.

“The project has already been delayed for several years and we’re running out of time,” he told a news conference.

“Unless the government acts fast to award the tender for the first container terminal in the new port we run the risk that shipping lines may shift their business to other ports.”

Four bids for the first container terminal in the planned new deep water container port west of the existing Colombo Port were opened in October with the main contenders being PSA Corporation and Hutchison Port Holdings (HP