Container throughput at Sri Lanka’s Port of Colombo was up by over 9 % in April this year compared to the same month of 2018. Overall the first four months of this year saw growth in container volumes through the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT), South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) and the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) combined rise by 5.9% compared to the January to April 2018 period. Transhipment activity was particularly buoyant and rose by 8.6% in this four month period.
Commenting on the increase in volume, Minister of Ports and Shipping Sagala Ratnayaka welcomed the fact that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has focused on fast-tracking strategic decisions regarding the expansion of the Colombo’s capacity. “Only such decisions,” the Minister said, “ensure that our growth is sustainable. The key focus of the SLPA at this point in time is to expedite processes relating to the expansion of Colombo port.” The Minister praised the team at SLPA and the wider port community for the good work that has been done, but reinforced the need for automation and process efficiencies to make Colombo port even more successful in the future.
Recent reports have suggested the first phase of the new East Container Terminal (ECT) could be operational by the second half of next year. The facility will be operated by a new company that will be jointly formed by Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), and partners nominated by the governments of Japan and India. The first phase is expected to boost capacity at the port by around 0.8 million teu a year. Japan is likely to provide a US$500-800 million soft loan at low interest rates, to enable the project to be completed within the next year.