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International Cargo Seaport: Port of Colombo

Posted in International Seaport - 30 May 2022, 3:23 PM

Port of Colombo is the busiest and largest port in Sri Lanka. Its strategic location makes this port a vital terminal in Asia. In addition, this port is also a naval base for the Western Fleet of the Sri Lankan Navy, ruled by the Commander Western Naval Area. Also, the Port of Colombo is known as the site of the second tallest building in South Asia and a center of business in Sri Lanka.

About Port of Colombo

Located in Colombo, on the southwest coast of the Kelani River, the Port of Colombo has a land area of 1,200 hectares. Because of its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, the Port of Colombia is a port that has a vital role in Asia and handles the majority of Sri Lanka’s exports and imports. There are three container terminals at this port, namely South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT), Jaya Container Terminal (JCT), and Unity Container Terminal (UCT).

More specifically, the JCT, which is located at the Main Channel and North Channel entrances, occupies 130 hectares of land and 70 hectares of lake water area. Then, the SAGT occupies 20 hectares and has 15 meters in depth. Meanwhile, with a depth of 9 to 11 meters, UCT has an area of about 1.53 hectares.

The History

In the early 14th century, or during the Kotte Kingdom, the Port of Colombia was known as the Port of Kolomtota. Initially, the Port of Colombo was an open port. However, in 1912, the port was converted into a sheltered port. This port is witness to the major changes that took place in Sri Lanka after the country gained independence in 1948.

This major transformation of the port took place between 1980 and 2000. In this case, around the end of 1980, two container terminals were built. Later, in the early 1990s, three more terminals were added. The development is still ongoing today to improve its services and stimulate economic growth.

Volume of Transaction in Port of Colombo

Port of Colombo cargo transaction volume increased by 5.84% in 2021 compared to the previous year. This figure is at an all-time high because the throughput at this port reaches 7.25 million TEU.

In addition, according to the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA), the volume of transhipments handled by the Port of Colombo rose 4.2% to 5.85 million TEU.

Meanwhile, the volume of imported containers grew 10.3%, and exports grew 9.3%, to 602,435 TEU and 596,620 TEU. In terms of storage volume, it rose 32.1% to 200,256 TEU compared to the previous year.

Interesting Facts

The Port of Colombo is one of 24 ports in the world that can handle mega-ships. With a depth of 18 meters, the Colombo International Container Terminal/CICT at the port is the first and only deep-sea terminal in South Asia that can handle mega-ships. This terminal can handle 3.21 million TEUs throughout the year.

In ancient times, people believed that this port was the entry point for Chinese, Indian and Persian traders, who came to the country to trade in the famous spices. Many assume that these people were the first users of the port. Initially, this port was under Portuguese and then switched to the Netherlands.

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