Risky Waters

Aug 04, 2008 (LBO) – Heavy swells caused by monsoon weather are creating delays at Colombo port, officials at shipping lines calling at the Sri Lankan harbour said. The bad weather sometimes forces vessels to delay entering the port as well as leave after discharging and loading cargo, they said.

“At the moment productivity has dropped and ships are facing delays because of the monsoon,” said a liner representative.

The heavy swells outside the port, south Asia’s transhipment hub, sometimes prevent harbour pilots from going by launch to board vessels and guide them into the harbour.

“The bad weather sometimes creates a situation where pilot services are suspended for maybe two or three hours,” said another shipping line official.

“Also, at the berth operations become slow and efficiency drops. Ships stay at berth for longer periods of time. This happens maybe two days out of seven days.”

Shipping officials said container cargo vessels of main line operators are now faced with delays of 12-18 hours.

Feeder vessels of lines serving ports in the Indian-sub-continent that feed cargo to Colombo sometimes face even longer delays.