Just about six months into its operations, and the Hambantota port is gearing up to become the number one port in the region. A combination of factors is carefully designed and put together to achieve this goal. “We in Sri Lanka have all been aware of the advantages of this location for centuries now, it being just a little less than half a nautical mile from the sea lanes itself makes it obvious. But what was necessary to push this into the limelight, was the right partnerships and this is what CMPort brings to the table.” Cpt. Ravindra Jayawickreme, CEO of Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS) said.
The CEO says that Hambantota is being developed into a multipurpose port, which will provide a variety of services such as handling containers, break bulk, RORO, passenger, oil, bulk terminal, gas and project cargo. The port is slated to become one of a kind, as it will be the only port in the country, designed to handle the full gamut of services in the maritime and logistics area.
The port will be providing off port services including the supply of ship stores, provisions, and facilitating crew changes,” said Tissa Wickramasinghe, COO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG).By implementing this Ship Supply Services at off port limits of Hambantota, the port also intends handling the refueling of vessels while they are on the move on the sea lanes.
“All of these services are being introduced in planned phases and the port has already commissioned Atkins Limited a firm specialised in designing globally renowned ports, to fast track the master plan of the port.Soon after they took over, HIPG began Dry Bulk, Break Bulk operations in the port, whereas previously the port handled only RORO operations. Another important change that took place was the considerable increase in RORO volumes under HIPG management. In the first half of 2018 alone, HIPG handled 106,135 vehicles and 153 ships, whist showing a year on year growth of 85% and 17% respectively. The company has also installed CCTV systems to increase security in the port especially to ensure the safety of valuable cargo such as vehicles that are being handled at the Hambantota port.
At the time HIPG took over the port, wharf clerks who entered the port for vehicle clearance did not have proper facilities, which the company took immediate steps to remedy, installing air-conditioned rest areas with washroom facilities. Vehicle clearance procedures have also been streamlined to provide a more efficient service overall. Other facilities the Hambantota port would offer includes bonded warehousing for related businesses, ship repairs/urgent ship services inside the port by providing sheltered piers for the vessels and bunkering which would be ready to commence by the end of 2018. The port has already invested in two modern bunker barges to develop this business.
HIPG under their ‘Energy Hub’ concept has plans to develop and increase facilities for LPG handling, for which they intend partnering with companies such as Litro and Laugfs gas.“This will vastly benefit LPG users in the country and also enable the port to be a distributor of LPG to the region.”The proposed LNG plant will provide leadership for the whole region to support the IMO 2020 rule of limiting global sulfur emissions for marine fuels up to 0.5% by 2020.
HIPG has just implemented a Bulk Terminal Operating System (BTOS), in the Hambantota port to further improve service levels and efficiency which has brought system to the port’s operation process.
The system will also allow the monitoring of productivity and remaining move count, from anywhere in the world.
The Hambantota Port is managed by Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) and Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS), two new companies set up by China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPort) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).