Marking the end of the first fiveyear port development plan, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has announced a seven-year corporate plan with the vision to achieve ‘logistics excellence in the silk route’, a vision established in line with Mahinda Chinthana Vision for the Future.
The corporate plan titled ‘Vision 2020’, which was officially launched on Tuesday at a gala dinner held at Hilton Colombo, demonstrated the SLPA’s shift in its original plan of becoming a container hub to a more strategic global logistics hub.
Vision 2020 leverages the country’s strategic geographical location and the expected increase in international trade.
“Today, with the completion of our first five-year development plan, it’s no exaggeration to state we are in the process of reaping the benefits of our strategies as envisaged,” said SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama.
Nevertheless, the much hyped first phase of Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa (MRMR) Port, which was built at an investment of US $ 361 million, has received only 24 vessels during 2011 (6) and 2012 (18), according to the Committee On Public Enterprises. Further, based on the existing figures, the SLPA needs to triple the investments, revenue and the tonnage during the seven-year period in order to achieve the 2020 targets.
In 2012, Sri Lankan ports handled 65 million metric tons of cargo and earned revenue of Rs.39 billion (US $ 310 million). The port sector so far has received investments totalling US $ 2.5 billion.
According to SLPA Vision 2020, the envisioned global logistics hub port will be created through the construction of multi-dimensional logistic system to integrate logistic functions. This will further involve the opening of a deep water sea port with maritime access that can handle large vessels.
Meanwhile, the 450 meter length, first terminal under the US $ 500 million South container terminal project, which can handle ultra-large container carriers, is expected to open for berthing on August 5.
The South container terminal project, which consists of three terminals, is expected to be fully complete by April 2014 and once completed, it will be able to handle 2.4 million TEUs in addition to the 4.18 million TEUs handled by the existing terminals in 2012.
Last week, China Communications Construction Company Limited pledged US $ 1.4 billion to reclaim the land next to the Colombo port to build a port city, which includes eco-parks, residential areas, offices and shopping malls. The construction of the 39-month long project is expected to start this September.
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