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Cement raw material shipments kick off Hambantota Port operations 2022

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Dubai Crown (left) discharging slag and Xin Hai Tong 23 (right) discharging clinker at the Hambantota Port

Hambantota International Port (HIP) had a robust start to the new year, with 6 supply cargo ships at the port in January 2022, discharging raw materials for the cement industry. The consignees were Lanwa Sanstha Cement Corporation (Pvt) Ltd., and INSEE Cement, leading cement manufacturers operating in the Southern part of the country.  Both companies entered into strategic partnerships with HIP in the latter part of 2021, to increase their supply chain efficiency. HIP handled a total volume of 265,163.34 MTs of cement raw material for the 2 manufacturers in January this year.

Vessels Tang Binh 245, Unity and Dubai Crown carried shipments of clinker, gypsum and slag for Lanwa Sanstha Cement. These were the first ships calling at the port with raw material for Lanwa Sanstha Cement, following the signing of the agreement with HIP last year to establish a covered conveyor belt and two ship unloaders within the port premises.  The facility which is currently under construction, will deliver raw material consignments directly to their manufacturing plant at the Mirijjawila BOI zone.

Tang Binh 245 at the Hambantota Port to discharge 27,607 MT of clinker.

“Two major cement manufacturers, INSEE and Lanwa are currently working with HIP.  While HIP is developing and offering services as a multipurpose port it is also supporting industries and enabling the development of adjacent areas. As much as HIP will see a considerable increase in our bulk volumes, with the commencement of the Lanwa factory, we expect Lanwa Sanstha Cement to have a significant advantage through the logistical arrangements of our port operations,” says Johnson Liu, CEO of HIPG.

Thusith Gunawarnasuriya, CEO of Lanwa Sanstha Cement says their plant, which will be the first of its kind using cutting edge European technology, will soon commence operations.  “We will commence manufacturing during the first quarter of this year and optimise production to meet market demand. We are very happy with our collaboration with Hambantota International Port, and the handling of our first three cargo ships for the year carrying raw material for our manufacturing process went smoothly.  The port crew was efficient and worked with remarkable speed, which is of great value to us,” he said.

There were 3 consignments of clinker and slag for INSEE Cement also in January. INSEE who has worked with HIP since 2018 was the port’s first customer for dry bulk cargo, enabling the port to handle a volume of over 1 million metric tonnes for them last year.

The Hambantota International Port expects their partnerships with the two cement manufacturers to strengthen their supply chains and productivity, enabling them to meet the high demand for cement in the construction industry.  HIP, which is on a steady track to becoming a fully functional multi-purpose port, with continuous testing of its systems for optimum efficiency, is now delivering productivity levels setting benchmarks in the region.



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Seylan Bank takes the lead to promote LANKA QR beyond Western Province

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Seylan Bank, the Bank with a Heart, organized the ‘Seylan Pay QR Carnival’ in Kurunegala to promote the LANKAQR programme introduced by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to strengthen digital transactions in Sri Lanka. The special programme, focusing on encouraging local merchants and SMEs to join the national QR transaction system, took place at the Vehera Sports Ground in Kurunegala recently. Officials from the Central bank of Sri Lanka, the Lanka QR Committee and partner banks were present at the event.

Organised as the 14th leg of the LankaQR national rollout campaign, the Seylan Pay QR Carnival set a firm footprint with the highest number of merchants at the event. Seylan Bank alone on boarded over 100 merchants for the SeylanPay payment solutions from the Kurunegala area. Over a thousand customers walked in during the event which benefitted many merchants accepting LankaQR, to process transactions on the day and generate great traction in the district since then.

As the key feature of the event, Seylan Bank educated their customers on the use of the Bank’s QR payment system, the SeylanPay Mobile App, and assisted customers in making payments to merchants. Over 50 stalls selling clothes and accessories, gift items, food, sweets, electronics and electrical equipment, plants, beauty care, cosmetic items and automobile parts were set up for the benefit of consumers, with attractive added discounts for customers using QR payment systems to purchase items, thereby encouraging and familiarizing the use of it among them. This marked a record high number of merchants participating among many LankaQR nationwide rollout campaigns that were organised to date. A Seylan Bank Mobile ATM was deployed at the premises, ensuring that customers had easy access to carry out cash withdrawals if required and check their account balances at any given time. In addition, a special fun zone was set up for children at the event premises, whilst a musical evening entertained the adults present at the Seylan Pay QR Carnival.

“Seylan Bank’s commitment to develop the banking and finance network together with the industry led to us hosting the 14th leg of the Lanka QR national rollout campaign. We also realize the potential this system brings to the SME sector in the country, in terms of transaction efficiency and savings. As a bank that has continued to support SMEs in the country in a wide spectrum, the alliance with Lanka QR helps in developing the entire transaction ecosystem of the country,” commented Chaminda Senewiratne, Head of Digital Banking Channels, Seylan Bank.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka introduced the LANKAQR service in October 2020 with the aim of moving towards a cash-less society while increasing financial inclusion in Sri Lanka, and was supported in this endeavour by Banks, licensed financial institutions and Lanka Clear (Pvt.) Ltd. It has already stood out as an attractive option with notable benefits for small and medium enterprises.

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Stylish Garments unveils its latest export-oriented BOI factory in Ambalangoda 

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With the Board of Investment (BOI) widening its projects, Stylish Garments (Pvt) Ltd, unveiled its sixth BOI approved factory in Ambalangoda which manufactures children’s wear, jerseys including school uniforms exclusively targeting the international market. The Stylish Garments is a renowned a garment manufacturer and exporter of jersey knit and lighter woven apparel products.

The latest project, which is a USD 3.5 million investment, is to generate 500 employment opportunities for people living in the south and other parts of the country. Moreover, the products are slated to be exported to the UK and Europe. The agreement in this regard was signed recently at the BOI Head Office in the presence of BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone.

The Director General said “A project of this nature should be recognized owing to the fact that it depicts the vibrant and vivid expansion of BOI projects, which has now started to reach the rural areas, The new venture will uplift the livelihood of the people living in the Ambalangoda area plus become a crucial source of bringing dollars to the country in a situation where the country isin dire need of dollars,” she underscored.

Founder and incumbent Chairman of the Stylish Garments (Pvt) Ltd Leelaratne Hattanarachchi said,” we were determined to launch the project irrespective of current challenges because such new projects would bring dollars to the country. That’s the very reason why I ventured to start operations at this new factory by turning the advantage of this crisis to ourselves. At the same time, we do appreciate the support rendered by the BOI at this critical juncture and look forward their support in future too.”

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Browns Investments solar power plant deal dominates CSE trading

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE’s leading listed company, Browns Investments, disposed of 50.1 per cent of its stake in Sagasolar Power Power (Private) Limited to another leading company, Aitken Spence Pvt. Ltd. yesterday, market sources said.

The total value of the company was Rs 1.4 billion and under this deal Browns Investments sold the stake for Rs 700 million. The capacity of the solar power plant is 10 megawatts, stock market analysts said.

Sagasolar Power built the solar PV facility on 45 acres (18.2 ha) of land within a dedicated energy development area in Baruthankanda, Hambantota district, Southern province. The country’s previous largest solar plant is a 1.3-MW facility also located in Hambantota.

Amid those developments, the trading activities in the stock market turned negative due to macro and micro economic uncertainties. Accordingly, stocks slipped over 1 per cent at mid-day trade yesterday for the third consecutive day, market analysis said.

The All- Share Price Index fell by 121 points and S and P SL20 went down by 50.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 982 million without any crossings. Top seven companies that that contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 274 million (3.5 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 185 million (1.2 million shares traded), JKH Rs 77 million (626,000 shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 59.8 million (9.9 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 58.9 million (8.9 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 32.6 million (89,000 shares traded) and Commercial Bank Rs 15.4 million (309,000 shares traded). During the day 51.5 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 share transactions.

Yesterday the Central Bank announced US dollar buying rate was Rs 356.04 and the selling price Rs 367.33.

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