The prospects of Colombo Port losing out on the
plum transshipment traffic to east coast ports of India have become imminent
because of the ongoing economic crisis and the severe shortage of petroleum
products including diesel. Colombo Port has been cornering 80 per cent of
transshipment traffic bound for India because of its locational advantage and
The crisis plaguing Colombo – the busiest
intermediate port or transshipment hub for Indian cargo – could see some of the
mainline services regularly calling shift to other ports in the region.
“Colombo is a major transshipment hub for South Asia, including India, because
of its natural locational advantage and competitive pricing,” according to a
report by the Market researcher Crisil.
Domestic ports in the east coast have been
reduced to the status of feeder ports
The industry sources however maintain the neglect
of infrastructure in domestic ports like VOC Tuticorin and reluctance to
implement the Colachel transshipment terminal is responsible for the steady of
growth of Colombo port’s transshipment traffic. As the container volumes in
Colombo port grew, the domestic ports in the east coast have been reduced to
the status of feeder ports. Colombo port’s container terminals have a berth
length of 1000 meters and a draft of 20 meters while the neighboring VOC port
has a berth length of 335 meters and a draft of 15 meters. The modern container
vessels have not been able to enter VOC port for the past fifteen years because
of infrastructure limitations.
The bonanza for Indian ports due to Sri
Lankan economic crisis is only temporary
Industry sources said the bonanza for Indian
ports due to Sri Lankan economic crisis is only temporary unless the Port and
Shipping ministry takes steps to improve the port infrastructure in VOC port
and set up a full fledged transshipment terminal at Colachel. The rail connectivity
from these ports to hinterland also needs to be toned up.