The Hambantota International Port (HIP) was the sole representative from South Asia, at the recently held “2nd Port Development South East Asia Summit” (PDSEAS 2023) in Vietnam. The summit which brought together 30 industry leaders and over 200 senior executives from various related sectors, including government agencies, port authorities, port & terminal operators, shipping companies, port equipment suppliers, solution providers, investors, bankers, and insurance companies, provided HIP the platform to promote the port as well as showcase the regional advantages Sri Lanka brings to the maritime industry, in terms of connectivity.
Johnson Liu, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) says “Port development is two pronged. While we develop facilities to ensure port services capacity at one level and look at HIP’s efficiency levels and ensure it conforms to strictest health and safety protocols; we are also building a matrix of connectivity. Here in Hambantota, we have the strategic advantage of being in close proximity to the East West sea routes. Whilst connecting to this advantage we are looking at ports in the South Asian region and direction to HIP. This enables us to project our services to these ports and provide logistical support to those who wish to connect with HIP either for transshipment or to actually set up a base to manufacture products in Sri Lanka, for export to various markets within and outside the region. While our transshipment business in RORO has expanded tremendously, HIP is developing the next area of expansion by opening up its industrial park adjacent to the port complex.”
Sabrina Edirisinghe, Senior Manager, Port Investment Services (PIS), represented HIP in PDSEAS 2023, made a presentation on how “Port Industrial Parks can be a catalyst for Port Development’ on the 2nd day of the summit. She touched on the 3 vital factors on HIP’s positioning as South Asia’s Regional Transshipment Port i.e. its close proximity to the Indian ocean’s East West sea routes allowing for easy global connectivity; Sri Lanka’s access to the region and beyond through trade agreements; and the unique opportunity maritime logistics has in dealing with a modern multipurpose port maintaining the highest efficiency standards backed with its track record in health and safety. “We had the opportunity to interact with maritime experts in South East Asia, Europe and the Middle East, which allowed for knowledge sharing and learning. I had the opportunity to showcase the strategic advantage Sri Lanka offered in terms of connectivity. Our connection to India, Bangladesh, Middle East & East Africa is a window to regional trade. While HIP’s continuous growth in RORO, dry bulk, and oil and gas have contributed to the port’s performance, the port’s industrial park is expected to contribute towards cargo generation, which in turn will trigger hinterland cargo movement, improving domestic connectivity. As more industries set up and logistics infrastructure development improves, we will strengthen HIP’s position as a transshipment and Gateway hub.”
Port Development South East Asia Summit was established to bring together regional ports and related industries with a view to ensuring a modern, well managed port sector, which is vital for South East Asia’s economic progress, as well as expanding global trading routes. The summit sees the development of the ports infrastructure as a growing priority in the archipelagic region of some 24,000 islands spanning 5,200km east to west and 3,400km from north to south.
Sri Lanka has the advantages of capitalizing on its connection to India, Bangladesh, Europe, the Middle East & East Africa as well as multi-sectoral technical and economic cooperation with BIMSTEC which account for 22% of the global population. Currently Sri Lanka has FTAs & bilateral trade agreements with the EU, India, Singapore, Bangladesh & Pakistan and an FTA will be signed with Thailand in 2024.
Source: Hambantota International Port (HIP)