Singapore company to develop Trincomalee Port and Hinterland

Surbana Jurong will prepare a Master Plan for Trincomalee harbor.

Published: 21st July 2016 06:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2016 08:04 PM   |  A+A-

  • Trincomalee is one of the world's best natural harbour.
  • Singapore based Surbana Jurong will help modernise the harbour.
  • Surbana Jurong was the master planner, engineering consultant and project manager for Jurong port in Singapore


COLOMBO: Trincomalee harbor in Eastern Sri Lanka, which is one of the best natural harbors in the world, will be turned into a modern one with a technologically advanced hinterland with the help of the Singapore company, Surbana Jurong, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Singapore on July 18.    

Surbana Jurong ,with 40 years experience in infrastructure development, will prepare a Master Plan for Trincomalee harbor and its environs, which will include shipping, manufacturing, and tourism, Wickremesinghe said.

“An area of 175 sq km  south of Trincomalee will be developed as a high end tourist resort area ,” he told a conference on the South Asian Diaspora.

Surbana Jurong was the master planner, engineering consultant and project manager for Jurong port in Singapore. 

Today, Jurong Port serves over 7,000 vessels of up to 150,000 deadweight tones every year, with 23 berths that can accommodate vessels with drafts of up to 16 metres and is equipped with super post-panamax quay cranes and gantry cranes to handle containerized cargo. Surbana Jurong is also preparing a concept paper on Mumbai’s development.

Advantages of Trincomalee Port

Trincomalee (TCO) Harbor is the second best natural harbor in the world. Its available water and land area is about ten times larger than those of the Colombo Port, says Austin Fernando, Governor of the Eastern Province.

Sri Lanka should develop more ports because it cannot rely indefinitely on Indian transshipment, he says. Sri Lanka’s largest and busiest port at Colombo gets most of its business from India. Indian transshipment accounts for 80 percent of Colombo port’s volume. Sri Lanka will also have to be ready to receive bigger ships if it wants to be a maritime hub, he argues.

Over reliance on Indian transshipment will harm Sri Lanka if India develops its harbors, as per plans. There is a national program to develop harbors, mostly in South India, to be efficient transshipment points. Mega container-terminal points are being considered. The draft is being deepened in selected ports. There is expansion to take charge of larger vessels. Indian ports also plan to offer specialized facilities which will definitely be a commercial threat to Colombo’s transshipment activities, Fernando warns.

Since the draft of Colombo port has constraints, finding an alternative all weather port with deeper draft and expansion potential will be a requirement. And Trincomalee port is the answer to this need, Fernando says.

It is now becoming increasingly clear to planners that there are no insurmountable technical barriers to increasing the size of container vessels which can accommodate 18,000 TEUs. In 2008, the South Korean shipbuilder STX Corporation announced plans to construct a container ship capable of carrying 22,000 TEUs. Enhancement will take place with passage of time and requirement demands. Enhancing vessel size will have multiple effects on port development and Sri Lanka will have to be aware of this and prepare for change, Fernando says.

The requirement of deep draft for large vessels will limit the number of ‘calling ports’. For instance, the planned 18,000 TEUS vessels can call only at ports having 21 to 25 meter draft. Thus the economic viability of new smaller ports is in doubt.

Trincomalee port, by its physical nature, can take large vessels. If developed ,it  will greatly assist Sri Lanka in becoming  a force in world shipping, Fernando says.

The depth of the natural basin in Trincomalee can accommodate even the proposed 18,000 TEUs ships that need a 25 meter draft. Super container vessels  can be berthed only at Trincomalee.

This factor will make Trincomalee port a transshipment hub for cargo generated from Indian ports such as Chennai, Ennore, Paradip, Calcutta and Chittagong in Bangladesh.

The industrial development of the Trincomalee area has been on the cards for some years.  A Special Economic Zone for international investments is envisaged. A power plant, based on either coal or LNG, is coming up in Sampur with Indian assistance. The place already has cement bagging plants and the Prima food processing plant.

India Matters


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