Business News from Sri Lanka: The Hambantota International Port (HIP) was represented at two premier port related technology and innovation centric summits held in Singapore. First, was the Equip Global Port Automation Summit 2019 held in August, and the other the more recent Port Maintenance and Facilities summit 2019, which provided an influential international platform for the Port and Maritime industry to interact and discuss on common port management challenges, goals and solutions. Nishantha Gamage, Commercial and Marketing Manager for Hambantota International Port Group (Pvt) Ltd. represented HIP at the summits and made presentations on automation at HIP and the port’s focus on operations and maintenance.
The Port Maintenance and Facilities Summit 2019 brought together industry veterans from across the world to share up-to-the-minute knowledge, insights and resources on modern port facilities that support efficient direct access connections and improved sustainability of the transport chain.
HIP’s Commercial and Marketing Manager, gave his speech on ‘Operations Vs. Maintenance at Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG). HIP had been a subject of interest during the Q&A sessions, where questions had been asked on the methodology used to double the port’s volumes. “I explained that the main factors were improvement of service quality, our zero-accident concept coupled with high productivity, introducing new bulk terminal Operating systems (BTOS) to ensure accuracy of the operation, and a clear marketing strategy to attract new business. I shared our success with the new Terminal Service Agreements signed with major RORO partners, as well as the new investment on equipment that enabled us to handle any kind of RORO cargo at HIP,” says Nishantha Gamage.
The Public Private Partnership with global port operator CMPort was another aspect taken up during the panel discussions, giving him the opportunity to explain how their global partner’s experience and best practices model benefits HIP in its business development and operations.
The Equip Global Port Automation Summit 2019 which was held earlier in the year had also gathered an audience of well known port operators, terminal operators and port & maritime authorities from the industry, such as the Port of Antwerp, PSA International, HPC Hamburg Port consulting Gmbh, Port of Amsterdam and New Mangalore Port Trust, all of who had shared on the successful methods implemented by them in terms of automation and technology.
Nishantha Gamage, had presented on ‘A Step by Step Approach to Automation in Brownfield Ports to Ensure High Operational Performance,’ encapsulating how Sri Lankan ports such as HIP and Colombo are moving towards automation, with projects like RTG Electrification and Auto Gate and Remote QC.
With the demand increasing for larger container vessels and rising labor costs in developed nations, ports around the world are turning more towards automation in order to maintain their competitive advantage in the industry. While port automation is a strategy for the long haul and will take time to bear fruit, it is a necessity that cannot be overlooked. Automation would not only help business objectives of faster turnaround times and increased efficiency but would also increase safety at ports, considerably reducing costs in the long run. Automated terminals are capable of providing round the clock service, resulting in a consistency that cannot be achieved by manual operations alone.
Gamage says that the learnings from the respective summits coupled with the headway HIP is making with CMPort’s tried-and-tested port operations fundamentals and unique insight into the innovative practices, they are headed in the right direction. He is of the view that with all these up-to-the-minute advances in technology, increasing productivity and quality of service, there would soon be a significant change in the way the world will view the port industry!