Thusith Gunawarnasuriya, Director Procurement & Logistics of Insee Cement says this was an extraordinary achievement for a Sri Lankan port in terms of speed and efficiency. “As the No. 1 cement manufacturing company in Sri Lanka, we import raw materials in large vessels. But once these vessels arrive in the country, it is up to port operations, in this case HIPG and HIPS, to discharge the vessels quickly. Quicker the cargo is discharged, the more benefit not only to us but also the country because for each day the vessel remains in port we pay vast amounts in detention and demurrage — something to the tune of US $ 75,000.”
“Therefore, when we are able to discharge two-and-a-half days earlier like we did this time, the cost saving is significant. Yes, it is an advantage for our company, but it is also a considerable saving in foreign exchange for the country.”
Thusith says the handling speed at HIP has increased 100 percent from just about a year ago, when the port could discharge only around 12,000 MTs per day. He says the almost doubled productivity coupled with excellent service levels is nothing short of remarkable.
Sylesh Peerez, Senior General Manager Operations of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) attributes the port’s increased efficiency to a high level of productivity, streamlined operations combined with excellent coordination. “Apart from that, our team’s execution was flawless. There are a lot of constraints in handling an operation like this as it involves unloading via cranes, loading material onto trucks etc., which means we have to ensure minimum impact on the environment, health and safety of those involved in the operation etc.”
“Achieving this level of productivity amidst all these constraints is a milestone for HIP and we believe is a first by a Sri Lankan port.” Sylesh Peerez says the way they optimized and increased their resources, efficient planning of manpower such as stevedoring, and the higher levels of communication between the logistics provider and the port also contributed to the success of the operation. “We were able to complete a very labor intensive operation notwithstanding strict adherence to COVID protocols,” he adds.
Lance Zuo, General Manager, Commercial and Marketing of HIPG says HIP is fast approaching its goal of becoming a fully functional multi-purpose port.