With a view to promote Sri Lanka as a maritime, commercial and energy hub in the region under the ‘Mahinda Chinathana’ programme of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) yesterday commissioned a new oil storage tank with the capacity of 5,200 metric tonnes at its Bloemendhal oil terminal premises to enhance the storage capacity.
Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Rohitha Abeygunawardhana was the Chief Guest at the ceremony whilst SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath B.Wickrama, Managing Director Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, JCT Managing Director and CEO W.G.Samarathunga and other officials and representative of bunker licence holders were present.
The premises which had been privatised in 2002 was restored to SLPA following the Supreme Court Judgment in 2008. The SLPA with the approval of the Customs took steps to store petroleum products imported by bunker licence holders. 11 bunker licence holders are currently registered with the SLPA for the purpose of applying bunkers to the ocean going vessels.
When the SLPA took over the oil terminal in September 2008, there had been 12 tanks with a storage capacity of 29,500 metric tonnes. With the commissioning of the new tank for the purpose the total storage capacity at the facility has been raised up to 35,000 metric tonnes. A decision has also been made by the SLPA to construct another storage tank with 10,000 metric tonne capacity to enhance the total capacity up to 45,000 metric tonnes. A new boiler is also being installed to maintain higher efficiency and productivity level for supplying petroleum products from the bond to the bunker barges.
A Rs. 150 million project to replace the existing pipe line to transfer petroleum products from the Port of Colombo to the oil terminal owned by the SLPA and vice-versa will commence shortly and the entire project will be funded by the SLPA. The infrastructure development project undertaken by the SLPA will assist in promoting Sri Lanka as an effective and efficient maritime hub in the region.