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Shall we look at Trinco port now?

Article Index
Shall we look at Trinco port now?
Page 2 - The port expansion plan
Page 3 - Trend of ships getting bigger
Page 4 - Trincomalee
All Pages


Within a matter of three years a brand new port has come up in the south of Sri Lanka, closer to the main shipping route than the port of Colombo and simultaneously an expansion to existing port facilities in Colombo is taking shape under South Port project. There is another brand new port viz. Oluwil, to commence business in the first quarter 2011. This seems a remarkable achievement for the country of which ports mainly depend on the transhipment container volume for survival. Yet, will this development ensure an uninterrupted flow of cargo to Sri Lanka? This paper is an attempt to answer this question by looking at potentials a port such as Trincomalee can offer in the future to retain the transhipment business with Sri Lanka.

Transhipment Hub status of Colombo and changing shipping environment

The international shipping scene is in constant change in the unending quest for excellence as in any other industry. Among multiple changes that are taking place in the shipping environment, a few aspects as shown below, which are more relevant to Sri Lanka need consideration as a prelude to the topic under discussion.

  • Indian port development
  • Sathusamudaram ( SSCP) and Thai canal projects
  • Trend of ships getting bigger

Sri Lanka vs. Indian port development

Whilst Hambanthota port is taking water to be ready for the first vessel scheduled to arrive in November and Colombo South Port work is in progress (sans sealing the agreement for the construction of the terminal) and also Oluwil port is due to be opened in early part of 2011, a flurry of similar activities is taking place in neighbouring India. In Southern India, much-talked Vallapadam port will be commissioned by end of 2010 ( DP World Website) and a host of other new, as well as improved ports, will be ready to offer services to merchant ships soon. A few of these ports such as (1) Vizhimjam ( 23- 27 meters draft), ( (2) Ganagavaram ( 21 meters) and (3) Krishnapatnam ( 19 meters) are examples promising to offer deeper draft, which will be one of the decisive criteria in the near future, than any currently operational container ports in Sri Lanka. India has proposed in 2007 a 12.4 billion USD ports upgrade plan enabling India to keep pace with growth of traffic ( Projected cargo traffic growth in India by 2011-12 is 876.70 million mt. from 521.58 million mt in 2004-05. Of which container traffic volume is projected to be 12.50 million teus in the same year from 4.5 million teus in 2004-05 (National Maritime Dev. Proramme-2006).