Shifting Cargo

Dec 31, 2008 (LBO) – Container shipping company American President Line (APL) is to resume calls at Colombo Port’s state-run terminals after an absence of several years, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) officials said. APL, a unit of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, originally called at SLPA terminals.

But the line shifted to SAGT when it began operations under global port operator P&O which at the time offered shipping companies a more efficient service than the state-run SLPA terminals.

APL is one of Colombo’s biggest customers, moving about a quarter-of-a-million 20-foot equivalent containers through the harbour each year.

The SLPA is set to sign a deal today with APL, the seventh largest international container shipping line, guaranteeing the carrier’s exclusive patronage of SLPA-run terminals.

The SLPA management has assured APL of improved efficiency at SLPA terminals, offering quicker turnaround times for its vessels and faster cargo handling, they said.

The SLPA owns and operates the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT), Colombo’s main container transhipment facility, as well as the Unity Container Terminal used by feeder vessels that feed cargo to main line vessels calling Colombo.