Port Prospects

July 06, 2011 (LBO) – A new deep-water terminal in Colombo port will help Sri Lanka take advantage of increasing Indian cargo volumes, said the head of a local firm doing the project in a joint venture with a Chinese company. Parakrama Dissanayake, chairman of Aitken Spence Maritime, said Indian efforts to modernise its own ports and attract direct calls by shipping lines would pose a challenge to Colombo’s status as the region’s transhipment hub.

India’s Jawaharlal Nehru port in Mumbai and Chennai were “making every effort to attract direct callers,” Dissanayake said. “These are challenges Sri Lanka will have to face.”

But he said the construction of new port infrastructure, along with improved efficiency, would enable the island to benefit from the anticipated surge in Indian cargo volumes as her economy grows.

The Aitken Spence group is in a joint venture with China Merchants Holdings to build the first deep-water container terminal in a new port next to Colombo’s existing harbour that is now under construction.

The 500 million US dollar South Terminal will have a quay length of 1,200 metres, four berths and 12 cranes with an annual capacity of 2.4 million containers.

It will be built and operated