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05 January, 2016 09:13 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is facing significant pressure in the new year as it has to meet loan payments of Rs.9 billion for the Hambantota port but hopes to counter it through new revenue measures and increased efficiency, a statement from the Ports and Shipping Ministry said yesterday.

The main financial challenge SLPA has to face in the new year is to pay back the loans obtained to construct the Port of Hambantota. The loan instalment, the interest for the completed stage I and the interest charges and commitment charges for stage II, being completed at present, have to be paid in the year 2016, the statement said.

“Although the cost of Rs.9000 million that has to be paid in this regard has placed an increased pressure upon the financial flow of the Port of Colombo, plans are underway to introduce new mechanisms in 2016 to mitigate the situation. Hence, implementation of a new plan of investment at the Port of Hambantota, commencement of business at the bunker facility and expansion of the RO-RO transhipment business are to be considered. It is expected to minimize the pressure to the financial flow at the Port of Colombo through these procedures,” it said.

Minister of Port and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga kicking off duties at his office in the New Year stated that his sole objective is to bring the Port of Colombo amongst the top 20 global container ports.  He also stated that every possible step has been taken to facilitate all employees of the institution performing their fullest duty towards Sri Lanka Ports Authority without disputes similar to the previous year.

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