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Sri Lanka Ports Authority loses US$10mn in 2010
12 Jun, 2011 18:27:55
June 12, 2011 (LBO) - State-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority has lost 1.1 billion rupees in 2010 partly due foreign exchange losses on Yen loans and a rising wage bill despite revenues rising 19 percent to 28.2 billion rupees, official data showed.
The port's container terminal had handled 2.1 million containers in 2010, recovering from a low of 1.7 million during a global recession in 2009, a finance ministry report said.

Container volumes had grown despite a decline in ship arrivals to 4,657 from 5,162 a year earlier. SLPA's container volumes had risen 19.4 percent compared to Shanghai 16.2 percent, Singapore 9.9 percent and Hong Kong 12 percent.

The agency's operating costs rose to 25.1 billion rupees up from 21.7 billion with wage costs rising from 12.5 billion rupees to 14.0 billion, a finance ministry report said. However revenue per employee had risen to 2.2 million from 1.7 million a year earlier.

Sri Lanka's Daily FT newspaper said the port is operating a 4.1 billion rupee voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to shed excess workers in its cadre of 12,550.

Sri Lanka's ports ministers over several decades had stuffed the port with supporters from their constituencies. Sri Lanka state rail and bus services suffer from the same fate.

The newspaper quoted SLPA additional managing director Norman Weerarathne as saying that 2,398 had applied for the VRS which closed on May 06, though only 2,000 were expected.

Employees with over 10 year's service and 5 years to retirement would get 2.0 million rupees in compensation. Workers with less than 5 years to retire would get below 2.0 million rupees.

"There is still an excess even after the VRS," Weerarathne was quoted as saying. "They will be laid out in an organised manner over the operational needs of the authority."

Sri Lanka Ports Authority has given a concession to build a new container terminal to China Merchant Holdings and Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence in a expanded area covered by a new breakwater built with Asian Development Bank funds.

It has also built a port in Hambantota in the south of the country with a Chinese loan and is setting up an industrial zone there. Another industrial zone will be set up around the north eastern port of Trincomalee.

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1. Rohan Samarajiva Jun 12
It takes active effort to lose money on a monopoly. The people running the port have made a lot more effort than the crowd running Mihin Lanka.

Why not go for a PPP and allow real managers to run the terminals? Then the SLPA can simply collect the rents.