Oct 08, 2019

Automation has helped H'tota port to improve business

A new terminal handling system and moves towards automation has helped Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port improve business, a senior official has said.
Nishantha Gamage, Commercial and Marketing Manager for Hambantota International Port Group (Pvt) Ltd. (HIP), described the port’s progress at two international port industry summits in Singapore recently.

At the Port Maintenance and Facilities Summit 2019, HIP had been a subject of interest during the discussion sessions, where questions had been asked on the methodology used to double the port’s volumes, a statement said.

“I explained that the main factors were improvement of service quality, our zero-accident concept coupled with high productivity, introducing new bulk terminal Operating systems (BTOS) to ensure accuracy of the operation, and a clear marketing strategy to attract new business,” he said.

“I shared our success with the new Terminal Service Agreements signed with major RORO (roll-on, roll-off) partners, as well as the new investment on equipment that enabled us to handle any kind of RORO cargo at HIP.”

The ‘Public Private Partnership’ with global port operator CMPort was another aspect taken up during the panel discussions, giving Gamage the opportunity to explain how their global partner’s experience and best practices model benefits HIP in its business development and operations.

At the Equip Global Port Automation Summit 2019, Gamage had made a presentation on a step-by-step approach to automation in brownfield ports to ensure high operational performance.

He described how Sri Lankan ports such as HIP and Colombo are moving towards automation, with projects like Rubber Tired Gantry electrification and auto gate and ‘remote quality control’.

With the demand increasing for larger container vessels and rising labor costs in developed nations, ports around the world are turning more towards automation in order to maintain their competitive advantage in the industry, the statement said.

“While port automation is a strategy for the long haul and will take time to bear fruit, it is a necessity that cannot be overlooked,” it said.