Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.'s Sri Lanka unit reported a sharp increase in container handling in its first year of operation to August 2000.
"In just 12 months, productivity levels have doubled and South Asia Gateway Terminal Pvt Ltd (SAGT) has handled 261,787 20-foot equivalent units.... a 40,682 teu increase over the year before period," SAGT said.
"... (the group) is well on course to achieving its ambitious target through an effective mix of international and local management expertise."
SAGT is 52.5 percent owned by units of Britain's P&O and Sri Lankan conglomerate John Keells Holdings Ltd.
SAGT last September took possession of the Colombo port's Queen Elizabeth Quay in a $240 million deal for a new breakwater. It also agreed to build a new passenger terminal.
The group plans to raise annual handling capacity to 1.1 million containers in 2003.
The Colombo port is largely seen as a transshipment hub for South Asia with a capacity to handle some 1.6 million containers a year, which is expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2005.
But container traffic at the Colombo port run by the Sri Lanka Ports
Authority has been stagnant due to increased competition from other ports in the region.