By Kelum Bandara
The Colombo Port which has been hard hit by the pandemic operates at 60-70 percent of its usual efficiency, but things will be fully operational by next week, an official said yesterday.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority Gen. Daya Ratnayake told Daily Mirror the port is surrounded by localities declared as high-risk COVID-19 areas. Also, he said 30 percent of port workers are from the pandemic-hit Gampaha District and another 25 percent from the surrounding affected areas.
Besides, he said 60 workers had tested positive for the virus. He said action had been taken to conduct port operations through measures such as recalling retired port workers to service.
Sri Lankan nationals who work at port terminals in foreign countries and are stranded in the country due to COVID-19 or on vacation at the moment have also been considered for service at the Colombo Port for the time being to fulfil the shortage of manpower in areas such as gantry crane and RTG crane operating. Besides, the port authorities have reached out to some manpower companies to address the issue at this hour.
Asked about the diversion of four ships to South India, he said, “Normally, such ships arrive in Colombo first and then proceed to South India. We ask those shipping authorities to proceed to South India first and call in Colombo next,”
He said import and export trading activities would not be hindered.