SLPA Chief optimistic of Rs. 10 b profit by end 2015
SLPA Chairman Dr. Lakdas Panagoda
By Charumini de Silva Further strengthening its hub status in South Asia, the Colombo Port has attracted four new services so far this year, boosting volumes and profitability.
“We have been successful in luring four new major shipping services during the first half of the year,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Lakdas Panagoda told the Daily FT.
The four new services are Australian/Falcon – MSC serviced Jaya Container Terminal (JCT); Zim Line/USA at South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT); China Shipping Container Lines – PIL connected and 2M service – Maersk and MCS at Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT).
He further said that the number of ships calling at Colombo Port had increased by 13.1% during the first six months compared to 2014. At present, 19 of the top 20 global shipping lines are calling at the Port of Colombo.
With an optimistic outlook for the future Dr. Panagoda said that the overall signs had been positive for the year with a target to post a profit of Rs. 10 billion.
As per the provisional financial figures, SLPA recorded an operating profit of Rs. 8.9 billion in 2014 compared to Rs. 2.4 billion in 2013.
“The outset looks interesting for port-related activates. We hope to handle more business and expect to increase our income and profits,” he said.
With the completion of the East Container Terminal next year, the Port of Colombo will be in a position to handle another 2.4 million TEUs per annum, increasing its total capacity to 9.8 million TEUs per annum. Currently its total capacity is 7.4 million TEUs per annum, whereby it contributes immensely to the country’s economy.
The State-run Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) average gross crane productivity has increased to 25 containers per hour from 18 containers compared to last year.
Elaborating further he said since January container volumes and productivity at JCT had increased steadily and that they expected to increase crane productivity to 30 containers per hour.
“Colombo is certainly improving. We have the right environment now for investors to come in and take part in the development,” he added.
The expansion projects taking place, such as the completion of East Container Terminal, setting-up of passenger cruise terminal, scanning system for containers, implementing 24-hour custom service and road development program within the port, will positively benefit the Colombo Port to be competitive in the region.
Noting the importance of being competitive in the region, he said: “One of the areas that we need to improve on is productivity and efficiency. We have to be up to the job to provide the necessary facilities,” he said.
The Chairman also said that they had succeeded in applying for ISO:9001 certification and is confident that they would be able to implement it at JCT by the end of this month.
“This will be the first time Colombo Port will have it and it will boost the image of the port,” Dr. Panagoda noted.