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Enhancing Operational Efficiency at Colombo Port to Address Red Sea Emergency | World News – Times of India

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COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government on Monday said it is intensifying efforts to enhance operational efficiency at the Colombo Port to meet the escalating demand for container cargo operations in response to the emergency situation in the Red Sea.
The Colombo Port is experiencing a notable increase in transshipment volumes since the start of January due to rerouting of ships following an increase in attacks in the Red Sea by Yemen-based Houthi rebels.Vessels are now opting for an extended route around Africa instead of using the Suez Canal.
Ports Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said he has directed officials to optimise operations of the Colombo Port to accommodate the surge in traffic of container cargo in view of the emergency situation in the Red Sea.
By mid-January, the Colombo Port had seen an 80 per cent increase in volume, handling nearly 200,000 containers.
According to Sri Lanka Port Authority officials, they are expecting to handle around 7 million containers or TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2024.
In 2023, the Colombo Port handled 6.9 million TEUs, up from 6.86 million TEUs in 2022.
Developments are underway at Colombo Port’s eastern and western container terminals to boost its TEU capacity from 8 million to 8.5 million, officials said.
Commenting on the Colombo port’s increased operations, state minister of foreign affairs Tharaka Balasuriya said the development should be seen in the background of safeguarding freedom of navigation in international waters, which must be protected at all times.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Navy has committed to dispatch a vessel to participate in the international operations against Houthi rebel attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea.

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