Harbour Move

Aug 13, 2008 (LBO) – The chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Saliya Wickramasuriya has been asked to resign, Sri Lanka’s ports and aviation minister Chamal Rajapaksa said. Shipping lines complain of delays in navigation because of the closure of the port’s northern entrance owing to security concerns.

They also complain of delays in cargo handling because of aging cranes on the docks, the lack of a modern computerised cargo handling system and inefficient labour.

The port has placed urgent orders more cranes and has also started work on a new deep-water port next to the existing harbour.

The new port is years behind schedule leading to fears that Colombo could lose its hub status as competing ports are being built in the region. Rajapaksa told our sister news website Vimasuma.com that Wickramasuriya has been given one month to leave.

He was responding to a query whether Wickramasuriya had sent a letter asking to be relieved of his duties as SLPA chairman.

Rajapaksa said Wickramasuriya was involved in consultancy work overseas.

As a result Wickramasuriya was unable to commit enough time for work at the SLPA and Colombo port, Rajapaksa said.