Space Crunch

Nov 26, 2007 (LBO) – Colombo port, Sri Lanka's main harbour, plans to build a dedicated cargo village to cater to rapidly increasing volumes of containers, a senior port official said. "We're running short of space," declared Nihal Keppetipola, a master mariner who is now the additional managing director of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

The SLPA has prepared a land use master plan for the port in order to optimise use of available land in the face of booming cargo volumes and physical constraints, he said.

Colombo port, which has emerged as the transhipment hub for the South Asian region, has found its ability to expand landward restricted by the city, which has grown around the harbour.

Keppetipola said the authorities recognised the need to expand urgently to cater to growing cargo volumes and increasing ship traffic and vessel sizes if Colombo wants to retain its position as a hub port.

He noted that there were more than 100 vessels of 10,000 TEU (Twenty foot Equivalent Unit or container) size on the orders books.

"We have to cope with it," he said.

The cargo village was part of SLPA plans to expand Colombo port and make it more efficient.

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