SLPA reiterates Hambantota port is safe and beneficial for car carriers

- www.ft.lk

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) yesterday reiterated that the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota was safe and beneficial for car carriers as it prepares to service the latter from June onwards.

As an effective measure to ease the long berthing delays experienced by Roll on Roll off vessels at the Port of Colombo, SLPA has decided to route all such vessels to the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port with effect from 31 May with the consultation of shipping lines and importers.
“However some parties have made disparaging remarks with regard to the above decision resulting in confusion amongst the public. SLPA would like to state that the ongoing process of handling ships carrying vehicles at Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port from 31 May will remain as decided,” the SLPA said in a statement. It also said that on completion of all dredging works, The National Hydrographic Department printed the Navigation Chart for the Port of Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa which is available for purchase from their office in Colombo.                                

The British Admiralty has also issued a Notice to Mariners regarding the Establishment of the Port. Hence there is no veracity in the statement that the Port does not meet international standards.
At present due to non availability of dedicated automobile terminal in the Port of Colombo and lack of yard storage areas, Roll on Roll off vessels have suffered long delays in berthing. This has in turn resulted in operators increasing freight rates to Colombo, and this increased freight cost has to be borne by Sri Lankan importers. Furthermore major Ro-Ro operators could not promote automobile trans-shipment business over the Port of Colombo. In 2009 the Port handled 4,973 vehicles as trans-shipment and in 2010- 2,455 vehicles and in 2011 only 993 vehicles.  This clearly indicates the drop in trans-shipment of automobile volumes over Colombo due to the congestion & non availability of dedicated automobile terminals.
This new move will enable to reduce congestion over Colombo, introduce quicker clearance system with Customs where the document processing can be done in either Hambantota or Colombo without any delay, and promote trans-shipment business with a dedicated automobile handling terminal facility in Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port.   
In addition to already announced concessions granted to any type of vessel calling at the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMR Port) by the SLPA, importers of vehicles are being afforded special concessions. The prompt berthing of vessels, ample secure parking facilities would assure speedy turnaround of vessels.
With such attractive concessions being afforded, it is expected that vehicle importers will avail themselves of this facility at Hambantota. The SLPA is vigorously campaigning to establish the MRMR port as a preferred trans-shipment Hub for vehicles and attractive incentives are being afforded to Shipping lines to avail themselves of this facility too. The vast areas available for parking of vehicles will be an added boost for the trans-shipment trade. The additional safety and security precautions there will also result in towards the maximum standards of reducing damages and pilferage.
 

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