23rd July 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Ravi Ladduwahetty
The Hambantota Port will now handle vessels carrying motor cars due to the berthing delays in the Colombo Port.
“The Hambantota Port is now capable of handling ships and at our last meeting with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority it was decided that if possible to divert the car carriers to Hambantota Port as they are subject to berthing delays at Colombo, Ceylon Association of Ships’ Agents Nimal Ranchigoda told the 45th CASA Annual General Meeting at the Hilton Colombo on Wednesday.”
“It was agreed that CASA members who handle car carriers discuss this aspect with their Principals, the Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association and if consensus is reached, then to go proceed with the berthing of car carriers at Hambantota,” he said.
He also said the SLPA Chairman has advised CASA that all geared vessels handling bags and break bulk bargo could be handled at Hambantota. He also confirmed that the current SLPA tariff will be applicable with a 30% discount on all items except the Professional Pilot Fees and the Tug Charges. Commenting on the Colombo Port, he said the port has experienced a total growth of 4% to date in 2011 when compared to 2010.
The CASA Chief also noted that shipping lines did recover financially in the second half of 2010 from the very serious financial and economic crisis they did encounter during the last quarter 2008, 2009 and the first quarter of 2010.
But however all shipping lines did end 2010 making profits. The start of 2011 due to a decline in world trade volumes and low freight rates made all shipping lines incur losses in the first quarter 2011 but they were nothing when compared to the losses suffered in the first quarter 2010.
He said that he referred about newspaper reports in his address last year saying that the shippers in the Asian Region have raised objections to some so called anti-competitive charges levied by shipping lines.
Subsequently in November 2010, President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Finance Minister made special reference in his budget proposals to Sri Lanka’s export industry which is said to be hampered by anti competitive practices of shipping lines and as a result that Sri Lankan exporters were subject to various charges imposed by the shipping lines.
He also stated that these charges resulted in a serious drain of foreign exchange and tax evasions.
The CASA executive committed having very carefully studied the position conveyed by the budget proposal have officially conveyed CASA response to the relevant authorities.
The CASA position is that there was no drain of any foreign exchange nor any tax evasions whatsoever. The charges levied by shipping lines in respect of imports are universally applied in all countries these shipping lines serve.
“While some charges are a cost recovery and others are applied as a deterrent, to ensure the trade comply with the documentation and other requirements of shipping lines therefore such charges are not peculiar to Sri Lanka,” he said.
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