Hambantota Port increases bulk cargo handling productivity by 100%


The Hambantota International Port (HIP) has recorded their highest discharge levels of bulk cargo recently, when a shipment of gypsum consigned to Insee Cement was unloaded at a rate of 24,000 metric tons per day by port operations. Insee Cement Director – Procurement and Logistics Thusith Gunawarnasuriya says this was an extraordinary achievement for a Sri Lankan port in terms of speed and efficiency. “As the no. 1 cement manufacturing company in Sri Lanka, we import raw materials in large vessels. But once these vessels arrive in the country, it is up to port operations, in this case HIPG and HIPS, to discharge the vessels quickly. Quicker the cargo is discharged, the more benefit not only to us but also the country because for each day the vessel remains in port, we pay vast amounts in detention and demurrage — something to the tune of US $ 75,000. Therefore, when we are able to discharge two-and-a-half days earlier like we did this time, the cost saving is significant. Yes, it is an advantage for our company, but it is also a considerable saving in foreign exchange for the country.” Thusith says the handling speed at HIP has increased 100% from just about a year ago, when the port could discharge only around 12,000 MTs per day. He says the almost doubled productivity coupled with excellent service levels is nothing short of remarkable. Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) Senior General Manager – Operations Sylesh Peerez attributes the port’s increased efficiency to a high level of productivity, streamlined operations combined with excellent coordination. “Apart from that, our team’s execution was flawless. There are a lot of constraints in handling an operation like this as it involves unloading via cranes, loading material onto trucks etc., which means we have to ensure minimum impact on the environment, health and safety of those involved in the operation etc. Achieving this level of productivity amidst all these constraints is a milestone for HIP and we believe is a first by a Sri Lankan port.” Peerez says the way they optimised and increased their resources, efficient planning of manpower such as stevedoring, and the higher levels of communication between the logistics provider and the port also contributed to the success of the operation. We were able to complete a very labour-intensive operation notwithstanding strict adherence to COVID protocols,” he adds. HIPG General Manager – Commercial and Marketing Lance Zuo says HIP is fast approaching its goal of becoming a fully functional multi-purpose port. He says the port is gearing on all levels, which involves continuous training and testing of its systems for optimum efficiency which is part of the DNA of all CMPort operations across the globe.