Local ports forge ahead - Being developed to meet maximum customer satisfactory levels, says SLP...

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Being developed to meet maximum customer satisfactory levels, says SLPA Chief

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama last week stated that all procedures currently being implemented at Colombo Port would be further developed to reach maximum customer satisfactory levels.
Addressing the Key Persons Forum organised by Small and Medium Enterprise Developers, the SME development arm of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCISL) on the theme ‘Port User Benefits through Port Projects,’ Dr. Wickrama said that through the three-year plan introduced by him at the time of his appointment as the Chairman of the institution, a number of key measures had been initiated to uplift the efficiency of SLPA to better serve its customers around the clock.

The three-year plan introduced and implemented by Dr. Wickrama includes an e-based document handling system, an online payment scheme, one-stop facility for transactions, a separate domestic import yard, a cargo village, developing accessibility and mobility inside port premises, paving better paths to interact with the stakeholders as well as implementing an aggressive marketing plan over the Port of Colombo and other port development projects.

Dr. Wickrama stated that effective implementation of all these measures were strengthening the logistics chain at the same time and making it simple so that everyone would understand what the institution was doing to extend the best services to its customers.
“Starting from 2010, we have also developed another five-year plan for the next five years up to 2014 with a proper timeline. The two main areas it has been categorised into will directly focus on improving the process and quality of services. We have implemented several system improvements such as the terminal management system, cargo clearing modules and a comprised finance system. Constructions of a state-of-the-art cargo village in Peliyagoda and the central administrative building for SLPA will also commence soon,” the SLPA Chairman added.
The overall benefit of the three-year plan cargo village concept for the SLPA will include a well-secured cargo warehousing and handling facility, an electronic payment scheme through the EDI facility, value-added services for users, easy and quick delivery of cargo to the end consumer, guaranteed truck turnaround time as well as MCC and entrepot facilities.
The improved cargo handling module of SLPA will also offer a number of benefits such as speedy delivery operations for general and LCL cargo, high traceability and transparency of landing and delivery records, ensuring easy and accurate documentation enabling online transmission facilities of cargo manifest, electronic authorisation of SLPA and the Customs, while facilitating the online payments through credit cards and standing orders. The improved basic office operations of the SLPA in the process will hence ease a larger portion of complex procedures to release cargo.
Dr. Wickrama also said that almost over 50% of the institution’s container de-stuffing operation equipment would also be modernised immediately. SLPA has currently completed the constructions of its FCL yard and commenced internal road expansion project for easier and efficient land transportations.
“Our domestic volume was increasing by about 35% last year and this year also we have marked a significant growth, which means we will reach one million domestic containers by the end of the year. We are also in the process of installing a security camera system inside the warehouses to protect cargo. As we have completed the construction of the breakwater of the Colombo South Port Expansion Project (CPEP), we are now about to start the construction of the first private sector terminal there. In addition, we have also started construction of our own terminal as well. The basin capacity in Colombo will be increased to meet the requirement of any future vessel that would call the port,” Dr.Wickrama said.
Expressing views on the latest port city development programme, the SLPA Chief said that about 500 acres from the breakwater of the CPEP up to the Galle Face would be filled up and the contract agreement with the contractor in relation to starting work had almost been finalised. The project is expected to be accomplished in 2014.
He further said that the investments utilised on the long-term basis to improve capacity inside the SL ports and also to convert Sri Lanka into a maritime and logistics centre of Asia, based upon the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ policy document implemented with the initiative of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was rapidly taking the country to a fully-developed status that could compete with the any sector of the international arena with the Government’s theme to convert Sri Lanka into a production-based economy.

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