Cargo volumes at the Hambantota International Port (HIP) have been steadily on the rise, reaching an all-time high during the months of December 2020 and January 2021. Despite the challenges faced by the ports and shipping industry last year, HIP has remained consistent in its progress.
A total of 388,031 units of RORO were achieved in 2020, with 58,996 units handled in the month of December, the highest recorded since the port’s inception. The second highest volume was handled in January this year which is 55,068 units.
“Managing the high need for manpower for operations while ensuring that our employees were protected was one of our biggest priorities in the past year,” says Senior General Manager- Operations, Sylesh Peerez. “We managed this successfully, on a roster basis, ensuring that we met the high demand while strictly adhering to Covid-19 health and safety guidelines,” he adds.
The consistency of HIP’s cargo volumes was first seen in the month of September, 2020 and can be constituted to HIPG’s aggressive marketing activities in the first half of 2020 as well as the introduction of new RORO business models. This strategy has paid dividends with the transshipment of thousands of vehicles via Sri Lanka’s southern port, during a period when the country itself is under a ban on vehicle imports. Vehicles coming from India, Korea, Japan and China are discharged at HIP for transshipment to the Middle East, South Africa and South America.
The port was not only successful in increasing their RORO cargo but experienced improved volumes of LPG and dry bulk cargo handling, taking their overall figure of cargo handled to 1,788,995 Metric Tons. Of this, 388,031 units were RORO cargo, a noteworthy achievement in a rather tough year of lockdowns and restrictions and a considerable improvement from the figures of 2019. The Hambantota International Port has proved itself to be a top of the line multi-purpose port that is remarkably resilient and consistent in achieving its goals even in the midst of a global pandemic.