On December 30, 2023, the Hambantota International Port (HIP) proved itself as the fastest-growing RO-RO transhipment port in the region. With 700,000 transhipment vehicles handled, the port marked a significant 26% increase from 2022 figures. The milestone figure was achieved with Glovis vessel MV. HAE SHIN V.003B handling 3626 units for transshipment to Ulsan port, South Korea.
“The port is geared and ready to handle volumes that are getting larger each year, not only because it is expanding capacity and location, but also because of our quality service, and timely berthing facilities with no waiting time for customers with tight schedules,” says General Manager Commercial & Marketing, Lance Zuo.
HIPG COO Tissa Wickramasinghe, says the 700,000 units handled by the port this year, places HIP at the top end of the league, with other RORO transhipment locations in the competing region.
“This is a commendable achievement for a port that has been in operation for just 6 years, and we achieved this amidst various challenges from lockdowns to a serious economic downturn in the country. While our Roll on Roll Off (RORO) operations teams are to be commended for their excellent service, our marketing team has done a tremendous job in promoting the port.
When the Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) took over, the Port Management team made a strategic decision to go for low-hanging fruit and establish HIP as a regional transhipment hub for RORO cargo.
The entire strategy was developed in line with that. The Port entered into agreements with RORO lines assuring them of expert handling of their transhipment cargo with uncompromised quality and reliability.”
New RORO customers were also attracted, to develop transhipment volumes, especially the Japanese lines, who were more focused only on handling domestic import cargo.
“Another approach we took was when new situations developed, for example, the Red Sea, HIP presented customers with the required options and necessary facilities to overcome difficulties. This has helped us to build win-win partnerships,” the COO says.
With the knowledge that attracting volumes alone would not sustain the business, HIP took equal measures to ready their operations team, establishing a quality, world-class cargo operations system.
HIPG has already made a significant investment in expanding yard space and installing modern equipment. Frequent training sessions are held for operations staff and familiarization visits to international terminals are facilitated for the relevant teams.
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