SriLankan Cargo took a giant step towards becoming the air cargo hub between the East, West and the Subcontinent, by recording its highest ever transhipment of freight through Colombo in 2010.
The new record for transhipment cargo handled in a year at the SriLankan Cargo Centre at Bandaranaike International Airport is 26,445 metric tonnes. The earlier record was 25,928 metric tonnes in 2006. The total transhipment cargo handled in 2010 is an impressive 43% increase over the previous year.
SriLankan's Head of Worldwide Sales Mohamed Fazeel said: "SriLankan Cargo is perfectly positioned to serve the booming economies of South Asia - including India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives - with our 'Hub in the Ocean' concept. With our global route network we link Europe and the Middle East in the West, Southeast Asia and the Far East in the East, and the Subcontinent."
The 156,142 tonnes of all types of cargo in 2010 - Imports, Exports, and Transhipments - is the third highest ever total handled at BIA in a single year, and is a tremendous 23% increase over year 2009.
Janaka Munasinghe, Manager Cargo Operations, said: "SriLankan Cargo is the sole ground handler at BIA and serves all airlines, charters, freighters, and private aircraft. In 2010 we doubled the handling capacity at our Cargo Centre by commissioning a new Exports Terminal, and we are now perfectly placed to serve as a cargo hub for South Asia far into the future. We now have capacity to handle up to of 300,000 metric tones of cargo in a year."
The 2,820 metric tonnes of transhipment cargo handled in December 2010 was also an all-time record for a single month, surpassing the 2,637 metric tonnes of December 2006.
Ali Kamil, Senior Manager Cargo (Worldwide Sales & Marketing), said: "Colombo has a perfect geographical positioning at the tip of the Subcontinent, and our Cargo Centre guarantees a high level of operational efficiency and superb facilities. With the launch of flights to Kochi in March 2011 we will serve cities in India with our scheduled flights and we are the largest carrier into the Maldives with six flights per day. We also have dedicated freighter operations on demand."
The new terminal is being equipped with state of the art facilities for perishables, courier cargo, post office mail, a customer facilitation centre, cold rooms and chiller rooms, seven acceptance bays, a customs safe vault for valuables, an animal holding room, and areas for animal and plant quarantine offices. Palette build-up stations and barcode scanners will enhance handling efficiency, and CCTV will provide increased security throughout the premises.
Sri Lanka's economy is expected to boom over the next several years, following the end of a separatist war that had hampered growth for 30 years. Many airlines have already increased their frequencies to Colombo, and several that did not earlier fly here have now begun services.
SriLankan's global route network will expand to 51 cities in 31 countries with the addition of two more destinations - Guangzhou and Kochi - by March 2011.