Trade Flows

Mar 10, 2010 (LBO) – Cargo volumes at a Colombo port private container terminal in which John Keells Holdings has a big stake hit a monthly high in February as trade flows rebounded from global recession last year. South Asia Gateway Terminals handled 164,243 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent container Units) in February 2010, its highest volumes in a month, data released by the firm showed.

Analysts said SAGT’s February 2010 volumes were 48 percent higher than the same month the previous year, although it was off a low base as cargo flows were reduced by recession in 2009.

The rise in container volumes at SAGT, three-quarter of whose traffic consist of transhipment containers, indicated regional trade lows were recovering, they said.

However, transshipment cargo yields lower margins than domestic import-export containers, analysts said.

Volumes at state-owned terminals operated by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority have also been rising this year.

The shipping business of John Keells Holdings, which has a 42.2 percent stake in SAGT, has emerged as the main contributor to group profits in recent years.