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Friday, 22 May 2009

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Port constructions ahead of schedule - SLPA Chairman

Groundwork on Hambantota Port in progress

Providing a clear and practical definition to the vision of the Government to develop Sri Lanka as a competitive Maritime and Logistics Centre and leading the regional Maritime Sector, the Hambantota Port is being completed ahead of schedule in 2011.

Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama said that SLPA, very well ahead of the schedule and is planning to complete the project by 2010. "We have Colombo Port Expansion Project as far as Colombo is concerned, and have called for tenders to build one terminal as well.

In addition we have already planned to have six gantry cranes and 30 transfer cranes. We have also commenced construction of the yacht Marina and the passenger terminal at Galle Port as we are planning to promote it as a centre of tourism. Steps have been taken towards the construction of Oluvil Port as well. SLPA itself will invest US$1.6 billion which is almost Rs.16 billion on those projects," he said.

Hambantota Port Development Project was commenced on the 15th of January last year with an estimated construction cost of US$361 million.

Currently, the cofferdam construction, caisson construction of service quay wall, casting of concrete armour and construction of core layer in break waters of the project have fully completed while 70% of the construction of under layer in the break waters and 60% of the construction of armour layer in the break waters have also been completed. Four million Cu. m of the basin excavation of Hambantota Port Project has also been done while 250,000 Cu. m of channel dredging has also been completed.

The total consultancy of Hambantota Port Project is carried out by SLPA. Ex-Im Bank of China provides 85% of the funding while the remaining 15% is invested by SLPA.

Higher profits expected with freight rates rise

Thoresen Thai Agencies expects a recent rise in freight rates and a return to profit at its overseas subsidiary to lift its third-quarter results despite a market downturn.

"Given the recent recovery in global freight rates, I do believe that our Q3 will actually be better than Q2," Managing Director Chandchutha Chandratat told Reuters in an interview.

"Mermaid Maritime should also do reasonably well with the utilisation rate of the sub-sea engineering division picking up. We had a bad monsoon season in the past quarter," Chandchutha said, referring to a quarterly net loss at its 58 percent owned Singapore-listed Mermaid Maritime .

The unit contributes about 22 percent of its revenue. Last Friday, the shipper posted a 95 percent drop in earnings to 99 million baht ($2.9 million) in the second quarter to March 31 dragging its earnings for the first half of this year down to 996.3 million, a 79 percent plunge from a year earlier.

"The impact (of the economic slowdown) has obviously hit everybody in this business," Chandchutha added. REUTERS

DHL rolls out 'First Choice' in Sri Lanka

DHL Global Forwarding announced that plans to roll-out in Sri Lanka the Group-wide program called 'First Choice' - a customer-centric quality program.

To be introduced in the third quarter of this year, 'First Choice' is aimed at driving organic growth by building strong customer loyalty. Employees are at the heart of the First Choice program, taking the lead in the organizational shift toward superior customer orientation.

"First Choice is about keeping our promise of quality and delivering service excellence to customers in order to be the preferred logistics partner in the industry.

This is a powerful initiative which has transformed the way we do business and it starts with every single employee, putting the customer's interest in the centre of everything that they do", said Global CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight and Member of the Deutsche Post DHL Management Board Hermann Ude. "I am delighted that Sri Lanka will be rolling out the program this year, I am confident it will deliver even higher levels of customer satisfaction, and cultivate a culture where excellence and constant improvement are second nature," he added.

"It is our firm belief that a leading position in customer loyalty will have a positive impact on revenue and earnings.

As the world's largest logistics group it is our relentless goal to deliver best-in-class service and satisfaction to our customers to maintain our edge as the market leader.

We recognize that customers who experience optimal service and quality performance will develop strong partnerships with their logistics providers," said Ude.

The workforce of more than 500,000 employees at Deutsche Post DHL is the crucial factor in the success of First Choice.

Fleet size lifted

Mercator Lines (Singapore) said it will lift its fleet size by a quarter to 15 by 2010 and sees increased coal demand from India giving a boost to dry bulk shipping which is still likely to see lower freight rates, after the sector has been hammered by the global slowdown. REUTERS



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