June 28 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s national shipping line has shelved plans to acquire a tanker for crude oil imports and is going ahead with the purchase of a cargo vessel to supply the northern Jaffna peninsula, an official said Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) officials said a cargo ship is the more urgent requirement because of the need to ship food, medicine and other provisions to Jaffna which can only be supplied by sea and air.
More vessels are required to maintain a regular flow of goods to Jaffna and prevent shortages such as that caused last year when the resumption of hostilities with the Tamil Tiger suddenly closed the road to Jaffna.
The CSC, which has turned around in recent years after more than a decade of losses, will use its own funds as well as that provided by the government and through loans to buy the ship.
The government has actually approved the purchase of up to three vessels by the CSC with the strategic aim of building up the national fleet.
“A second-hand cargo vessel would cost around 3-4 million dollars. We can invest part of the money and borrow the rest,” a CSC official said.
The corporation was holding talks with banks as well as with other ministries like the Ministry o