Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga emphasised that the government would develop the ports in the island to fame Sri Lanka as one of the top container hubs in Asia. He said that welcoming ‘Marco Polo’, the first largest container vessel to Colombo Port recently. The minister said that the government would further develop infrastructure facilities in the Colombo Port in order to achieve the set targets.
Edith Maersk was the largest container vessel that had arrived in Sri Lanka before the Marco Polo. It had 15,550 containers of cargo carrying capacity. However, Marco Polo has 16,020 containers of cargo carrying capacity at same time. Marco Polo is a UK registered vessel and was the world’s largest vessel in 2012. It was the one and only UK flag containership. The vessel is 396 meters in length and 29.9 meters in height. Marko Polo was launched in November 7 2012.
Speaking to the foreign media, the minister asserted that the government would keep a 51 percent share to the country from future investment projects to be received to develop the Colombo harbour, in order to gain the benefits.
“Sri Lanka has now become a centre of shipping routes between China and Europe. Hence, we hope to develop our harbours to famed Sri Lanka as an Asian container hub. Currently we are re-exporting vehicles at the Hambantota harbour. In the last political era, the investors were reluctant to invest in the country as a result of unfavourable socio-political situation had. However, a significant development has been achieved in the port industry within the last six months. Now we should focus on increasing the potential of Port Authority. We can gain a huge income to the country via developing the East terminal at the Colombo Port,” the minister further asserted.
The minister also visited the vessel. The occasion was graced by Ministry Secretary L.P. Jayampathi and other distinguished guests. The minister received a memento from Zlatkosisa, the captain of the vessel, at the event.