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Hambantota Port moving at speed despite gloomy market

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The Hambantota Port has signed deals with more than 30 countries as it looks to promote its operations globally.

 Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) said that the promotional activities have garnered commendable results despite the gloomy market situation experienced globally.

 “We are rapidly moving to diversify HIP’s industrial zone portfolio and at the same time we are widely promoting the location internationally. We have signed with more than 30 investors from across the globe i.e. the UK, Singapore, Japan, Sri Lanka, China and now the Maldives,” Johnson Liu, CEO of HIPG said.

 HIPG in a release said: The new operational blueprint of the Hambantota International Port (HIP) is impacting all aspects of the port’s activities. “HIP Speed” is a concept to increase efficiency and momentum across port operations for the benefit of all stakeholders.

“HIP Speed will bring a new dimension to investment in port operations and allied industries. We put this formula in place taking into consideration the opportunities that will emerge in the coming year, when supply and demand structures will change and trade routes will be reinvented. The Hambantota Port is well placed on the global maritime map for growth and investment, and this formula is to strengthen processes and infrastructure to capitalize on future opportunities. As per our overall plans the HIP will be a port that will complement the services of other ports operating in Sri Lanka,” says Johnson Liu, CEO of the Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG).

HIP Speed is modeled on previous hands-on experience of the current CEO in other facilities managed by the CMPort, ensuring efficiency and momentum of projects that would otherwise have dragged their feet in planning and execution. The concept also extends to customers establishing their operations in the port’s industrial zone; so that they receive optimum support in clearing speedily any bottlenecks. HIPG is also working on establishing branch offices of leading investor companies, shipping and logistics agents, and has leased out seven floors of the Maritime Centre to more than 30 interested parties. The One Stop Service (OSS)facility with representative offices from BOI and Customs have made the whole investment process more efficient, the same facility will be available from the Ministry of Industries in the near future. The aim of this effort is to minimise the burden on investors when obtaining required certification and approvals from government institutions.

Tissa Wickramasinghe, Chief Operating Officer of HIPG says, “The first two years of our operations was dedicated to setting up the processes, which included drawing up the master plan and putting in place a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). This was vital as when launching a project such as this we need to get everything right the first time over. While we looked at overseas models for benchmarking and maximising our operational efficiency, we were guided mainly by the global standards and procedures of CMPort, which operates more than 50 ports and terminals all over the world. In the first half of 2021, CMPort achieved double-digit growth on its container throughput and bulk cargo volume at home and abroad. The Group’s ports handled a total container throughput of 66.57 million TEUs, up by 21.3% compared with the corresponding period last year, and bulk cargo volume of 284 million tonnes, up by 42.8% over the same period of the previous year.”

 Their partnership with the Shenzhen Xinji Group to set up a plug and play ‘Park in park’ manufacturing facility within the industrial zone is an example of how HIP Speed operates.  The project went into construction within 20 days of signing the partnership agreement with HIPG.

 Likewise, several projects have reached the construction stage, like the Ceylon Tire Manufacturing facility, which is nearing completion of leveling and clearing work

Another area HIP Speed also has worked well is in fast tracking the promotion of the port internationally.  The promotional activities have garnered commendable results despite the gloomy market situation experienced globally.  “We are rapidly moving to diversify HIP’s industrial zone portfolio and at the same time we are widely promoting the location internationally.” says Johnson Liu, CEO of HIPG.

HIP Speed prioritises operational efficiency, constantly reviewing processes to maximise the throughput and give maximum benefit to customers.

A state-of-the-art yacht building facility is also to be set up at the port by Sea Horse Yachts (Pvt) Ltd. HIPG recently entered into an agreement with the newly incorporated company, a premium luxury yacht builder which is privately owned by boating enthusiasts from Maldives. The initial investment for the facility, which will be located within the Hambantota International Port, is set at approximately USD 58 million (Sri Lankan Rupees 11.5 billion) and production is set to commence by early 2022.

The port’s overall cargo handling volume increased by 186% in the first half of this year in comparison to the corresponding period in 2020. The total throughput increased from 420,421 MT by end June 2020, to a significant 1,206,425 MT.

The vision of HIPG is to develop the Hambantota International Port to become an energy hub for South Asia. In order to build this energy hub, HIPG entered into a strategic partnership with Sinopec Fuel Oil Lanka Limited (SFOL) to provide bunkering services as a wholesale exporter and also service vessels calling HIP as a value added service. Bunkering is an important part of HIP’s energy services portfolio. Sinopec with their vast resources guarantees the supply of VLSFO in Hambantota currently and MGO in the near future, enabling the port to service all vessels plying the principal sea route in the Indian Ocean.

Transshipment of LPG and delivery for local consumption is also a part of the energy hub mix at HIP, which has the two main players operating supply facilities within the port. HIP has also partnered with Intertek Lanka (Pvt) Ltd to establish a state-of-the-art petroleum testing laboratory, within the port to provide services to the energy hub, further strengthening HIP capacity to provide these services.

Not only is HIP investing in the efficiency of port operations, they are also helping the surrounding community deal with the pandemic in a timely manner.  HIPG has provided funding to establish a fully-fledged PCR testing laboratory at the Hambantota District General Hospital. Part of the funding for the PCR testing facility comes from the China Merchants Foundation (CMF), the philanthropic arm of HIPG’s main shareholder, CMPort. Many donations of personal protection equipment have also been made to government institutions in Hambantota.

In addition to bringing in new foreign investment, HIPG is increasing its own investment footprint at Hambantota Port, as well as creating more employment opportunities for locals and promoting the development of local industries. The group will continue to promote the port and the Hambantota district, with a view to turning it into a new Maritime centre, which in turn will have the desired impact on the Sri Lankan economy as a whole.



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Vasu defends constituents’ right to differ

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Prez chairs govt. group meeting:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has strongly defended the right of the SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) constituents’ to take up contentious issues in public.

Minister Nanayakkara told SLPP parliamentary group meeting at the President’s House on Sunday night (24) that their right to differ on matters of public interest shouldn’t be questioned.

Nanayakkara said so when Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena and MP Tissa Kuttiarachchi faulted some constituent parties for dissenting views on certain issues.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was present at the meeting chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The meeting lasted for about two hours.

The SLPP held Sunday’s meet in the wake of some constituent parties of the ruling coalition asking for a discussion on the questionable agreement between the government and the US New Fortress Energy Company over the Yugadanavi power plant, etc. Sources said that initially, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa indicated that the issue could be discussed with the Premier but subsequently arrangements were made for the Sunday’s meeting.

The New Fortress recently announced that a definitive agreement had been executed for the external investment in West Coast Power Limited (WCP).

WCP owns the 310 megawatts Yugadanavi Power Plant based in Colombo. The deal is also for the rights to develop a new LNG Terminal off the coast of Colombo. In terms of the agreement, New Fortress will acquire a 40 per cent ownership stake in WCP. The US energy firm plans to build an offshore LNG terminal located off the coast of Colombo.

Minister Nanayakkara has said it is not unusual for members of a coalition to hold different views depending on the issues as they also represent the interests of the public.

Nanayakkara has pointed out how the left parties remained with the UPFA though they didn’t agree with the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to enact the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Parliament passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with a two-thirds majority on 08 Sept. 2010, enabling the President to seek a third term among other things.

The SLPP constituents have differed with the government on several issues such as fuel price increases announced by Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila on 12 June as well as the abortive bid to transfer 49 percent of shares of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo port to India and Japan.

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa spearheaded the constituents’ campaign. He sought an explanation particularly as regards Cabinet approval for the controversial energy deal with the US firm, without a discussion among ministers.

NFF sources told The Island that their leader felt the urgent need to take up the matter to prevent further deterioration of relations among the coalition members.

Several parties including government ally the Jathika Sanvidhana Ekamuthuwa moved the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, respectively against the secretive energy deal with the US firm.

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‘Those who hesitate to get vaccinated pose a threat to others’

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath said yesterday a significant number of people had not received the Covid-19 vaccine, and posed a threat to society.

“No matter what your age category is, you will be at a higher risk of being infected and spreading it to others. So please get vaccinated,” he urged.

The DDGHS said that a booster shot would be given to people from 01 Nov.

The Health Ministry would carry out the ongoing vaccination drive until everyone got the first two doses, he said.

“However, we won’t keep hundreds of vaccination centres open. Most likely, those who have not got vaccinated will have to go to designated locations to receive the vaccine.”

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School attendance high as parents have faith in teachers – CTU head

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Teachers and principals protested at Colombo Fort yesterday urging the government to rectify their salary anomalies. The protesters marched from the Fort Railway Station towards the Presidential Secretariat but police did not permit them to proceed beyond the Telecom rounadbout. Pic by Nishan S Priyantha

By Rathindra Kuruwita

School attendance was high Despite inter-provincial travel restrictions, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said yesterday. “The government announced on 22 October that primary sections of all schools would be reopened on 25 October. Despite the short notice the attendance was high, and this is testament to the faith parents have in teachers,” he said.Primary sections of 9,155 schools recommenced yesterday.

“However, we will only teach. Teachers do a lot of additional work instead of teaching and most people who slander us have no idea about this,” he said.

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath urged relevant authorities to provide safe and adequate transport facilities to students. It was vital that those vehicles were ventilated, and social distancing was maintained.

“We urge parents to buy reusable face masks for kids. If your child has any symptoms of COVID such as fever and cold, don’t send him/her to school until you are certain this is not COVID. Teach your child the importance of washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. This is the way we can ensure there is no spread in the school system,” Dr. Herath said.

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