Former Port and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says the implementation of the 3-year comprehensive plan during his tenure helped the Port of Colombo achieve a historic handling of seven million containers in 2018.
Issuing a statement yesterday Samarasinghe pointed out that when he assumed office in May 2017, the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) belonging to Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) demonstrated negative year-on-year (YoY) growth of 6.4 percent despite over 6.4 percent overall growth in the port.
However, he noted that the performance of the JCT rebounded in the first quarter of 2018 due to the implementation of the 3-year plan.
“Notwithstanding this shortfall in performance, through our intervention, we were able to develop and operationalize a comprehensive 3-year plan bringing together the three main terminal operators—JCT, CICT and SAGT in 2017 for the overall development of the Colombo port.
“A memorandum of understanding was concluded and a strategic business plan was initiated which greatly assisted our success.
“As a direct consequence, the Colombo port overall recorded a positive rate of growth that year. The JCT was able to show impressive growth of 24 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2018 and the overall SLPA operations also grew by 16.4 percent.
“I would like to point out that the achievement of the seven million target was a result of our efforts at the local and international level to implement a programme of action for the development of the ports and shipping sector – a programme implemented during our tenure of office,” he elaborated.
Moreover, he drew attention to the international recognition received by Port of Colombo during the time period, as a result of the implementations of the plans.
“This rapid development enabled the Colombo Port to win several plaudits in 2018. In the Global Container Port Connectivity rankings, Colombo rose to 13th position among international ports and first out of 30 in speedy and efficient container handling during the first quarter.
“These were special gains. The SLPA won recognition as the Port Authority of the Year – 2018 after a series of evaluations based on its enhanced performance and was accorded this honour by the Global Ports Forum,” he stated.
In conclsion, Samarasinghe congratulated the newly appointed Ports and Shipping Minister Sagala Ratnayake while appreciating the contribution made by ministry officials, trade unions and other stakeholders in the industry towards this achievement.