SAGT targets 2.4 m TEUs for 2019 | Sunday Observer

SAGT targets 2.4 m TEUs for 2019

30 December, 2018
Ted Muttiah
Ted Muttiah

South Asia Gateway Terminals (Pvt) Ltd. (SAGT), operators of the Queen Elizabeth Quay (QEQ) in the Colombo Port, has increased its projections to 2.4 million TEUs for 2019 from the landmark two million TEUs reached in 2018.

The company will import new equipment to meet the demand.

“We are delighted to achieve two million TEUs in 2018, which is quite an achievement considering the design capacity of 1.1 million TEUs at the commencement of operations in 1999, SAGT Chief Marketing Commercial Officer (CCO) Ted Muttiah told Business Observer.

“We are now strategising towards the 2.4 million TEU mark with additional capacity for 2019. In the past few years, we were averaging between 1.6 million and 1.7 million TEUs and it was through operational efficiency that we increased capacity by another 300,000 TEUs, he said.

The quay line at QEQ terminal is 940 metres with limited scope to extend it. Therefore, our focus was to drive efficiency by sweating the operating assets and increasing the velocity of volumes through the terminal, he said.

He said the East Container Terminal (ECT) was overdue by at least two years.

Muttiah said the Colombo Port should achieve the seven million TEU landmark this year which will make Colombo among the fastest growing among the top 30 Ports in the world.

In 2014, Colombo was the 29th largest port in the world by measure of volume handled.

He said the Colombo Port is facing competition from regional ports such as Dubai, Singapore and Port Kelang in Malaysia.

“With 80 percent of our transshipment volumes involving India, the Colombo Port is complementary to India’s international trade growth aspirations,” Muttiah said.

The SAGT CCO said that shipping lines also have the benefit of three terminal operators in Colombo in contrast to the single terminal operator each in Singapore and Dubai.

SAGT’s Sri Lankan shareholdership is close to 60 percent with major shareholders being John Keells Holdings PLC and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

Maersk Ltd (APMT) and Evergreen (EMC) are among other international shareholders.

SAGT’s ability to achieve two million TEUs is remarkable with a yard capacity of 20 hectares and must rate among the best in the world for space optimisation. - RL