Tuesday 22 October 2019
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Sri Lanka set to benefit from Maritime Silk Road port investment

Sri Lanka set to benefit from Maritime Silk Road port investment

“If the Colombo South Harbor Terminal did not exist, I would probably still be seeking employment overseas to earn money to support my 5-member family,” said Yuri S. Kannangara, the assistant general manager of the operations department of the Colombo South Harbor Terminal located in Sri Lanka’s capital, Xinhua reports.

In front of the container yard, the 49-year-old told the Xinhua News Agency that before his employment with South Harbor, he had been employed in South Africa, far away from his family.

However following his recruitment here, Kannangara is happy to be back home and settled with his family.

Kannangara said that during his five year employment with South Harbor, he has been sent to China four times for training, which he valued.   During his time in China, his Chinese friends taught him many operational techniques which has benefitted him in his career. He also witnessed the rapid growth of China’s economy.  

Kannangara believes that the strong bond shared between China and Sri Lanka will continue to benefit both nations. He said the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road proposed by China would also bring tremendous development opportunities to Sri Lanka and benefit the local people.  

Moreover, Kannangara said he valued the traditional friendship shared between China and Sri Lanka, and looked forward to more development projects such as the South Harbor Terminal when building the maritime Silk Road so that Sri Lanka can further develop and benefit from such a vast project.  

Thousands of local employees, like Kannangara, have gained stable employment and higher salaries during the construction and operational process of the South Harbor.   Xiaoqiang Zhang, general manager of China Harbor which is responsible for the construction in Sri Lanka, told Xinhua that during the construction of the terminal, their company directly hired 1,500 local workers and created approximately 4,000 indirect employment opportunities.  

They have also trained a large number of skilled workers and related engineering constructional personnel, building a strong human resource base for Sri Lanka to become an international maritime hub.  

Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) is a joint venture which is 85 percent owned by China Merchants Holdings International Company (CMHI) and 15 percent owned by Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The $550 million facility is the largest foreign investment project in the island country so far that has been put into operation.  

Since the South Harbor commenced operation in 2014, Sri Lanka’s economic and social growth has been in the spotlight.   Liu said that in 2015, the throughput reached 1.5 million twenty-feet equivalent units (TEUs), a 1.2 times increase compared to the previous year. 

This had led to the Colombo Port achieving a 5 million TEUs history.   Since 2014, following the early completion of the South Harbor construction, the service effectiveness of Colombo Port had been significantly increased, thereby getting rid of the slow growth situation.  

In 2014, the Colombo Port reached a record 14 percent and topped the list of the world’s 30 largest container terminals, in terms of growth rate.  

Under the trend of bigger vessels in the world’s shipping industry, as the only terminal that is able to unload large containers in South Asia to fill the gaps of Colombo Port, the South Harbor has become a hub of a growing number of large vessels.  

As such, Colombo’s regional shipping center has gradually been improved.   Nelson said: “We have set the ‘Chinese speed’ in the construction of overseas terminal and operations in Sri Lanka.

With an ABC philosophy of American supervision, British standard and Chinese speed, the South Harbor project was completed in a record time of 28 months, 32 months ahead of schedule,” Chinese news outlet Xinhua reports. 

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