Port Gains

April 23, 2012 (LBO0 – The state-owned authority which runs Sri Lanka’s ports increased operating profits last year as its spending fell and ship traffic and cargo volumes grew despite the global economic slowdown. The total cargo handled by the SLPA increased by 6.2 percent to 65.1 million metric tons in 2011 from the year before while the total number of vessels calling at Colombo port grew by 5.5 percent.

The SLPA, which has been hugely overstaffed like other government organisations, also reduced staff last year by offering a voluntary retirement scheme.

Total SLPA employment fell 14.4 percent to 10,982 people in 2011 from the year before. The revenue of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority increased by 10.5 percent to 31.2 billion rupees in 2011 from a year ago while operating expenditure fell by 3.9 percent to 30 billion rupees.

The operating profit of the SLPA increased by 89 percent to 8.3 billion rupees in 2011 compared to 4.4 billion rupees in 2010, according to the central bank annual report.

“A steady growth was seen in the ports sector in 2011,” it said.

“Despite severe set-backs in the pace of global economic recovery, total container handling increased by three percent to 4.3 mill