Sri Lanka sets sights on becoming major shipping hub

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A new government plan for Sri Lanka’s maritime sector has been pushed for as the country is realising the port of Colombo’s potential to become a reliable maritime and logistics hub in Southeast Asia.

Sujeewa Samaraweera, Chairman of the Ports and Shipping Committee of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), said Sri Lanka had the potential to be the “number one shipping hub” in the region, claiming it has “large potential for transshipment, bunkering, ship repairs, and ship building, all of which were not looked at in a planned manner.”

“The truth is that we have all this time under estimated the large potential that Sri Lanka has to become the number one shipping hub in the region purely due to our geographical location and the availability of the natural harbours,” he claimed.

With a Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruling last year having helped open the Colombo bunker market to more competition, work is also currently underway on the construction of a new bunkering terminal at the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota, and reported as running ahead of schedule, could be completed before 2011.