Original news was published on 12 June, 2014
COLOMBO is expected to move up the league table from 32nd to 21st spot in the Top 50 World Container Ports this year with the new berths of the Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), reported Lanka Business Today.
It said the completion of the third and final phase of CICT will have a dramatic effect on container throughput at the island nation with an annual capacity of 2.5 million TEU being added to the Colombo shipping hub.
At present, the throughput at Colombo has a capacity of 4.26 million TEU.
According to the list, Port Bremen/Bremerhaven in Germany currently occupies the 21st spot with volumes of 6.12 million TEU, while Xiamen is in 20th place with 7.20 million TEU.
The new CICT terminals, developed over three stages, opened the third phase of its facility recently in the reclaimed south area of Colombo port. The terminal began operations last year.
According to the Hong Kong's China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) annual report, the facility handled 60,000 TEU last year, as it gradually boosted its operational capabilities.
The new port project is the result of US$500 million of investment by China Merchants, the largest direct foreign investment in the country. China Merchants holds 85 per cent stake and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) holds the remainder.
According to general manager of CICT, Tissa Wickramasinghe, the new capacity at Colombo, which acts as a transshipment port for the potentially vast markets of the Indian subcontinent, could alter container supply chains in the region.
Mr Wickramasinghe said the opening of the new terminals, the route between Chittagong, Singapore and Colombo could be rationalised.
Much cargo is being carried by feeder vessels from Chittagong to Singapore and then transshipped onto larger vessels on the westbound Asia-Europe services.
He is of the view that if the Colombo Port is able to cut out the Chittagong-Singapore leg, it would attract an extra million TEU and offer European importers reduced shipping costs.