Port of Colombo will handle over 24 million TEUs by 2040, states SLPA Chairman


“In addition to the 08 million existing TEU capacity at the Port of Colombo, we will be adding another 06 million by 2025 by developing the East and West container terminals with a depth of 20 meters and having Quay Cranes of 26 across reach. We will also be adding another 10 million TEUs in the North Port which will give  a total of 24 million TEU capacity at the Port of Colombo by 2040,” says Capt, Nihal Keppetipola, Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

The Chairman expressed these views at the inaugural session of the Multimodal Transportation Summit 2021, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)  held recently under the theme, ‘Propelling India’s logistics efficiency to newer heights’.  Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and AYUSH, Government of India attended as the Chief Guest to inaugurate the summit. It was held over virtual platform.

The summit highlighted the growing investment opportunities in infrastructure, particularly ports and waterways sector, and deliberated upon the potential solutions for developing an integrated logistics and transportation network to support and make India’s trade and commerce globally competitive. It also focused on exchange of thoughts on the international experience in the Global Maritime sector and best practices across the world.

Speaking further the  SLPA Chairman said that the plans already implemented in the maritime sector of Sri Lanka, would see the development of the Port of Colombo as a container and logistics hub, the Port of Galle as a tourist destination with a mixed  development project having cruise terminals and the Port of Trincomalee as an Industrial Port.

“We will soon call RFPs to develop Trincomalee as an industrial port. We also have our plans to start a ferry service between Jaffna and Karikkal in Tamil Nadu,” he added.

“In addition, SLPA will go ahead with digitalized operations, cargo clearance, e-manifests, e-CusDec, e-delivery orders, e-CDNS, e-boat notes, e-payments, so that we will be paper-less,” he said.

At present, the Port of Colombo handling over 07 million TEUs, is ranked the 15th Best Connectivity Port in the world, and Number 01 in South Asia. Globally, the port is ranked the 23rd in Throughput Handling.

India is a major player for Sri Lanka. 81% of total cargo handled at Colombo is TS and 70% of this business is linked to the Indian market.

Ship order book shows over 270 ships of >10,000 TEU Ultra Large Container vessels have been ordered by the 03 major global alliances 2M, OA & TA who’s controlling over 80% of global shipboard capacity which will be delivered within the next few years. Between 7,500 -10,000 TEUS there are none in the order book. Rest of new buildings are all feeders. That means the Mega vessels have no plans to deviate from the East West sea route.

India’s Sagarmala project costing over USD 140b with port infrastructure enhancement, modernization and new port development, efficient evacuation to/from hinterland with new rail/road network will be in place in time to come.

“So, it’s my opinion that India and Sri Lanka should create a synergy in our trade, transport and logistics activities enhancing the supply chain activities smoothly via ISC developing SL as the Maritime Hub & Gateway of South Asia,” the Chairman said.

Sachin Bhanushali – Chairman, CII National Committee on Railways (Transport) and CEO & Whole Time Director, Gateway Rail Freight Limited, Wan Chee Foong – Regional CEO-Middle East, South Asia and Head of Group Business Development, PSA International, Singapore, Amrit Lal Meena – Additional Secretary-Logistic, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Babu Khan – Executive Director, Energy and Infrastructure CII also attended the event.