Deep draft terminal at Colombo Port launched

Courtesy of Daily News, 8 August 2013

COLOMBO PORT -CONTAINER SHIPColombo’s new deep draft terminal constructed under the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) received its first container carrier, an 11,000 TEU Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS) “MV CMA CGM PEGASUS” operated by CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container group and number one in France, on August 5. The vessel touched Colombo on its China-Europe leg, plying on its FAL3 (French Asia line) service. The first terminal of the CPEP, Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) was constructed on a Built Own Transfer (BOT) agreement with a Public-Private-Partnership between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and the China Merchants Holdings (International) Co., Ltd. (CMHI).

The consortium that has been formed as the operating company for the terminal is Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) Ltd., with which the SLPA holds a substantial equity partnership. Within, so short a time as one year and seven months, a major part of the construction of the terminal was completed to start operations.

The vessel “MV CMA CGM PEGASUS” docked at the CICT handled 1556 moves commissioning the latest state-of-the-art handling equipment fixed at the terminal. According to published literature, world’s first ULCS has been built in 2006 and 185 ULCSs used to plough the trade route between Asia and Europe without calling at Sri Lankan or Indian Subcontinent (ISC) ports prior to the construction of CICT. “Now CICT can handle “Triple E” vessels and it will push Colombo into the big league”, one local shipping expert said.

The CPEP, with a total annual container throughput of 7.2 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) and a monumental breakwater of 6.8 km, augmented container handling capacity with facilities to serve mega ships was bestowed upon the nation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on August 5, 2013.

The CPEP comprises two phases, viz., Harbour Infrastructure Works and Construction of Terminals. The project expands the present Port of Colombo on its south with an additional 18-meter-deep harbour basin surrounded by breakwaters, thereby providing a calm water area to set up three modern container terminals of 1200 meters in length, each having a capacity of 2.4 million TEUs, in stages. To mark the significance of this move, plaques were exchanged among officials of SLPA, CMA CGM and CICT. SLPA was represented by Managing Director, Capt. Nihal Keppetipola.

COLOMBO PORT --plaque exchangeAssistant President of CMG and Managing Director of CMHI, Dr. Hu Jianhua, commenting on the occasion, said, ” Today, I am very happy to see that Sri Lanka’s first deep draft terminal, its mega maritime PPP project, commenced operations smoothly.

China realized Sri Lanka’s maritime potentiality a long time ago and that is the only rationale for our investment here on this terminal. I can see that relations between China and Sri Lanka have reached a peak level, especially during the Administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Chinese assistance to various sectors of Sri Lanka is on a very high level, and is very apparent in the port sector.

Overseas Operation Officer of CMHI and Director and CEO of CICT, Nelson Liu, said, “It is a moment of great significance for CICT today as we have completed a major part of the terminal ahead of schedule. We are fully confident that the total 1200m quay length of the terminal will be ready by next year. This is only the beginning and there is no other alternative port than the Port of Colombo in the region for mega liners having a carrying capacity of 11,000 TEUs. Therefore, the capacity growth is of paramount importance for Colombo”.


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