With several of the largest shipping lines in the RO-RO business now operating in and out of the Hambantota International port (HIP), it has earned the ‘amongst the best in the world’ benchmark for handling transshipment of vehicles coming on and off vessels in the past few years.
“As we achieve these standards and accolades from our customers we need to look at the bigger picture. How can we move to the next step, which is refinery, energy hub and container transshipment. Sri Lanka needs to have a holistic approach in terms of container handling. There is a huge potential market out there, and it can be captured under a unified Sri Lankan brand. Not only will it benefit the country, but it will also provide great value in terms of cutting costs for the Indo-Pacific region manufacturers and for regions in the far east, who are reaching out to the gulf, European and African markets,” says Tissa Wickremasinghe, COO of HIPG.
HIP’s latest endorsement comes from the shipping line MOL, who awarded the port an appreciation certificate for achieving ZERO damage operation and maintaining safe Pure Car Carrier (PCC) cargo handling during the period 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2023. The award was presented under the category ‘Handling more than 40,000 annual MOL,’ at the shipping line’s Annual Stevedore Meeting (India and Indian Ocean Region), which was held at the Residency Tower Hotel, Chennai, recently.
The COO says HIP, which is the only ISO certified port in Sri Lanka with special emphasis on Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE), won several accolades for its RORO operations due to stringent practices and protocols. “Our adherence to local and international regulations is non-negotiable. We look at all aspects such as environmental standards, customs procedures, and compliance with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations. Regular audits and checks are conducted to ensure that all our operations align with prescribed standards."
Yuri Kannangara, General Manager Operations of HIPG attributes their success to the best-in-class technology adopted by the port which he says is key to maintaining high standards. HIP has implemented modern port management systems, technology for cargo tracking, and advanced communication tools to streamline its operations. “Apart from that the first pillar of maintaining standards in Ro-Ro port operations is a robust safety protocol. This includes clear signage, designated pathways, and comprehensive emergency response plans. We conduct regular drills and training sessions to ensure that all personnel are well-prepared for any unforeseen circumstances."
The COO says, maintaining standards in Ro-Ro port operations is a multifaceted task where safety, equipment maintenance, regulatory compliance, training, and technology integration come together to ensure success. “It is by prioritizing all of these elements, that we can achieve a seamless Ro-Ro business that’s according to international standards, which is something all our stakeholders can expect from us."
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