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Sri Lanka port plans four feeder berths to ease traffic

THE state-owned container terminal in Colombo unveiled plans to add berths for feeder vessels in a bid to raise productivity and reduce congestion as the volume of cargo increases and navigation restrictions intensify.

This comes as the northern entrance to Colombo port is currently closed to ward off Tamil Tiger attacks, which has resulted in having only one navigation channel being open to traffic, which has led to congestion, longer waiting times, and rising costs.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will develop four feeder berths for the smaller regional container vessels that call at the port for transshipment to South Asia via Colombo.

SLPA chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya said this is an interim measure to ease congestion until the planned new mega-port, the South Port of Colombo, is open for business.

Colombo has four deep-water berths at the state-run Jaya Container Terminal, three deep-water berths at the privatised South Asia Gateway Terminals, and two feeder berths at the Unity Container Terminal to serve growing the container trade, reports Lanka Business Online.

The SLPA will use a combination of mobile cranes and top lifters to handle cargo at the planned new berths. Some of the port's general cargo berths are also expected to be turned into ones that can handle container feeder vessels. This would free up the deep-water berths for the bigger ships of main line operators.

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