In our previous blog, we looked into how the Colombo Port is slated to become a key transhipment hub in Asia with its pending East Container Terminal developments and investment opportunities to global shipping players. The Colombo Port also has other plans to develop the Sri Lankan maritime industry, along with the West Container Terminal and not to mention the newly revived Colombo Port City project (which would also be revamped as the Colombo International Financial City). The MRMR Port in Hambantota has also received funding by the Chinese government to further develop the port operations and also to help tie in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative to garner global trade market share routes.
With improvements and progress occurring in Colombo and Hambantota to grow capacity and volumes of TEUs to the various terminals, Trincomalee has been receiving due attention, as many believe that the natural harbour has been underutilised. The SLPA is in the midst of progressing with the re-development of the Port of Trincomalee is still being decided and consulted with ADB. Possible loose cargo and industrial zones will be setup, including refineries and an LNG (liquid natural gas), and not to mention a railway link for ease of cargo transportation. The development of the Trincomalee port would definitely provide an advantage to the Sri Lankan maritime industry. Being the second best natural harbour in the world, and offers tenfold the capacity that the Colombo Port could offer, thus development to this untapped gem is imperative, especially in terms of bulk and break bulk cargo.
Whilst the Colombo Port’s ECT is calling for potential investors, and the Trincomalee port developments being devise, strategic business plans for the Sri Lankan maritime industry is potentially taking into consideration the Indian investments and interests that have been shown. As a partner in undertaking and moving cargo volumes with India, and not to the keen interest they have shown in other ports of the island of Sri Lanka whilst improving their own container ports within the sub-continent. One of the key reasons why However, that does not mean that Sri Lanka has overlooked other countries; instead it the Ministry of Ports and SLPA has made strategic business plans to encourage other countries to move through Sri Lankan ports. This would include the likes of offering rebates on stevedorage (unloading/loading of cargo) with the likes of Bangladesh, Myanmar and other countries east of India. Furthermore, with the likes of “multi country consolidation,” import/export industrial centre (entrepot), and bonded cargo handling, as per an interview carried out with the SLPA Chairman, can definitely aid in improving the Sri Lankan maritime industry.