The Port of Colombo (POC) has announced that MSC America has successfully called at its East Container Terminal (ECT).
The boxship had docked at the ECT on 7 February.
On its first call, the vessel carried 1500 TEU to Colombo and is expected to carry 200 TEU on a weekly basis.
The vessel, with a length of 334 metres and a 7.5-metre draft, sails under the flag of Panama.
The port rotation includes Singapore and South Africa.
To mark MSC America’s first call at the POC, a special plaque exchange was held at the ECT of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) between the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva, and the Master of the vessel, Matlin Alexander.
At the occasion, Nimal Siripala de Silva said: “Today, a mega vessel of the MSC has contributed for container operations via the Port of Colombo.
“With the deep draft of the East Container Terminal, there is ample potential for mega vessels to call at the port. The remaining development process of the terminal is expedited with an investment of SLRs 5.9 billion ($16.6 million).
“Similarly, four new services will be added to increase the capacity of the POC,” added de Silva.
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The MSC America is the first container vessel under the business promotions programme to attract new services to the POC.
The latest programme to attract new shipping lines to the POC has been planned and implemented in a collaborative effort with several maritime organisations.
This included the SLPA, Ministry of Ports and Shipping, Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA), and Sri Lanka Association of Vessel Owners (SLAVO).
These plans addressed strategic business promotions as a useful tool to overcome the prevailing economic crisis.
Among its objectives were to attract more new services to the POC, increasing operational efficiency, and expediting naval services.
The program’s other objectives included improving container and cargo transportation, warehouse management efficiency, and logistics.
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MSC has maintained long term operations with the POC and has a collaborative business relationship with the SLPA of more than 10 years.
It also performs approximately 900 calls yearly at the POC.
According to MSC Lanka (Pvt), the local representatives for MSC, another three shipping services are scheduled to arrive at the POC in February.
These services include INGWE West Bound service, East Africa Express, and the East Med service.
This announcement comes months after Adani Ports began construction works to develop the Western Container Terminal (WCT) at Colombo Port, becoming the fifth container handling facility at the port.