The Chinese-built Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), which opened for business in 2014, has made significant gains in container handling last year surpassing 1.5 million TEUs, according to local media.
The Terminal has set a record in 2015 with handling 1.561 million TEUs representing 1.57 percent increase over the year before and 67 percent of this volume is from ULCC (Ultra Large Container Carrier) and VLCC (Very large Container Carrier) segments.
CICT is the first and currently the only deep water terminal in South Asia equipped with facilities to handle the largest vessels afloat.
"The CICT-run “South Terminal” is making the right kind of waves, raking it in for Colombo port like
never before and transforming Sri Lanka into a regional shipping hub," say local newspapers.
CICT CEO Nelson Liu said this record achievement was made possible due to the excellent port support auxiliary services provided by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka Customs and Sri Lanka Navy,which play a very critical but subtle role in the operations of the Port. The trust of customers and the support ofother stakeholders within the industry also contributed to CICT’s success, he said.
CICT received some of the largest vessels plying the Asia Europe routes in 2015. It also added two new shipping lines - China Shipping Container line and the Korea Maritime Transport company- to provide new services to the Port of Colombo
China Merchant Holdings International (CMHI) holds an 85 per cent stake in CICT while the rest is held by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. CMHI bid for the project at the peak of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009, when not many foreign investors were interested in the country. Its US$500 million investment in the terminal makes it one of the largest foreign direct investments in Sri Lanka and the largest project run by a foreign company in the country.
In yet another development, Sri Lanka is seeking a partner for Colombo’s partly-built second deep draught container terminal that will bring new business to the port, a top official said.
“We have to find the right partner to bring new revenue,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dhammika Ranatunga said.
“Based on what I am seeing it has to be a joint effort by a major terminal operator, a shipping lien or three or four parties combining.”