State Ships

COLOMBO, December 17, 2013 (AFP) – Sri Lanka will revive its defunct state-run shipping company by introducing two new cargo vessels bought from China, the government said Tuesday. The Ceylon Shipping Corporation will buy two 64,000-tonne bulk carriers that will also be used to train Sri Lankan crew, Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.

He said the two vessels will cost a total of $70 million and will help revive the local shipping company, which does not own or operate any vessels at the moment.

“We will use these two ships to revive the shipping corporation as well as increase the training of our seamen, who are in great demand overseas,” the minister said.

In October the government appointed navy chief, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, to head the Ceylon Shipping Corporation in addition to his duties commanding the navy. Officials said the two Chinese vessels could be delivered within two years. China is a key financier in Sri Lanka and has built harbours, an airport, expressways and railway lines to emerge as the island’s main development partner.