SL’s Maritime Sector Embarks on Three-Year Capacity Development Project with US Support
February 05, Colombo (LNW): In a significant move toward enhancing Sri Lanka’s maritime capabilities, Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva, stressed the importance of system development and technology transfer during the Implementation of the Port and Maritime Sector Capacity Development Project. The project, initiated by the Colombo Plan Secretariat of the United States Department of State, was inaugurated on January 31, 2024, at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Colombo.
Minister de Silva, serving as the Chief Guest at the event, acknowledged the remarkable transformation of the Port of Colombo into a modern facility but highlighted that there is more to achieve. Emphasizing the need to comprehend and integrate the latest technology into existing systems, he urged the preparation of the younger generation to embrace innovation. Minister de Silva expressed confidence that with the support of the U.S., the Colombo Plan, and other nations, Sri Lanka would excel in the maritime sector.
The Colombo Plan, backed by funding from the U.S. Embassy, introduced a three-year program to enhance the technical expertise of Sri Lanka Ports Authority staff and implement “smart” port operations at the Port of Colombo. A letter of intent was signed between the Colombo Plan and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority during the launch, and a detailed Memorandum of Understanding is set to contribute to the sustainable development of maritime and port operations in Sri Lanka. The program aims to introduce modern port systems, new technologies, and international best practices, supported by U.S. funding, thereby boosting productivity and competitiveness to position Sri Lanka’s ports as vital regional hubs in South Asia.
Minister de Silva also reflected on the challenging economic situation Sri Lanka faced, leading to seeking assistance from friendly countries, including the IMF, to achieve a permanent solution. Acknowledging the support of the USA, India, China, Japan, and the Paris Club during this difficult period, he expressed gratitude for the assistance in reaching a consensus with the IMF and navigating through challenging circumstances with courage and expectations.