Sri Lanka container volumes rise near 50 per cent

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SLPA's container volumes rise near 50 per cent in Q1 2024

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has reported a record 48 per cent year-on-year (YoY) rise in container volumes in the first quarter (Q1 2024).

The total grew from 441,032 to 652,766 TEU. SLPA ascribed this spike to a number of issues, including the Red Sea crisis and its broader ramifications.

SLPA’s transshipment throughput in the first three months of this year totalled 582,403 TEU, a 49.81 per cent increase over the same period last year.

This growth contributed to the Port of Colombo’s (POC) overall transshipment volume, which reached 1.72 million TEU in the first three months of this year, a 24.20 per cent increase over the same period in 2023.

READ: Sri Lanka Ports Authority books $280 million equipment boost

Keith Bernard, Chairman of the SLPA, emphasised that the port is ready to become a vital transshipment hub for the Middle East, as many shipping lines reroute boats to avoid current concerns in the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

“SLPA staff and workers have handled this situation diligently and efficiently, in the face of challenges,” he said.

SLPA and the POC have effectively managed the situation which has resulted in a significant increase in throughput.

The POC experienced a substantial surge in volumes, reaching 2 million TEU, a notable increase of 24 per cent.

READ: Transshipments at Port of Colombo soar for third consecutive month

Furthermore, the completion of the East Container Terminal (ECT) Stage II and the acquisition of new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes will further enhance POC’s position as a leading shipping hub in the region.

The new cranes will enable the port to handle ultra-large GMX 24 ships, allowing it to accommodate higher volumes in the future. 

Additionally, ongoing infrastructure developments by SLPA will further strengthen the POC’s competitiveness in attracting more volume and enhancing its capabilities in handling larger vessels.

This month, the Port of Tianjin in China expressed its willingness to assist in transforming the Port of Colombo, which is currently operating as a global container port, into a green port.

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