SRI LANKA's Colombo port is on the verge of reaching a major container throughput milestone as it is just shy of handling seven million TEU for the whole of this year.
"We are almost there, which will also be the highest and best ever performance of the Colombo port," Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Parakrama Dissanayake told Ceylon Daily News.
He expressed confidence that the landmark was within reach in spite of the head winds which typically prevail at this time of the year, which could prevent vessels from docking at the port.
The chairman also revealed that Maersk Lines, which accounts for one-fifth of the business at the Colombo port, has assured the government that they would boost the volumes to Colombo on a year-on-year basis.
"This assurance was provided to the government when former Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe and I paid a courtesy call on the AP Moller Maersk Lines Group Transport and Logistics CEO Soren Skou and it was he who provided us with that assurance," the SLPA chief said.
"Maersk is one of Sri Lanka's biggest shipping clients and it was indeed important that we pay them these courtesy calls at the highest level.
"This is also the second time in 15 years that a Sri Lankan Shipping Minister and I paid a courtesy call on Maersk since 2003," he explained.
They are fully committed to the port of Colombo and they will undoubtedly keep increasing the volumes in and out of Colombo, he said.
"This was a courtesy call to solicit their support and that was what we achieved," he said.