Measures to boost SLPA's operational efficiency discussed | Daily News

Measures to boost SLPA's operational efficiency discussed

The SLPA Progress Meeting was held under the auspices of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and officials recently.
The SLPA Progress Meeting was held under the auspices of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and officials recently.

A special Progress Revive Meeting to discuss the current issues in view of the need to expedite ongoing development activities and programmes was held on the initiative of Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) auditorium recently.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation K.D.S. Ruwanchandra and SLPA Vice Chairman Gayan Algewattege were also present. SLPA Finance Division sources revealed that during the first and second quarters of 2021, the revenue generation of the SLPA had seen a slight decrease when compared to the first and second quarters of this year. Due to the present economic recession faced by Sri Lanka and trade union actions launched in support of the ‘Galle Face Aragalaya,’ about 17 ships which were to call at the Port of Colombo (PoC) were diverted to other ports in the region. It was also revealed in these discussions that due to these issues, several shipping lines are still reluctant to avail the services of the port.

Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva instructed the SLPA's Marketing and Business Development Division to take necessary steps to acknowledge the shipping lines and their local agents through effective discussions in order to bring port operations back to normalcy and strengthen efforts towards attracting more ships to Colombo.

The Minister also commended the steps taken to purchase new cranes with a financial utilization of USD 46 million for the East Container Terminal (ECT) even amidst the prevailing difficulties giving priority towards the development activities of the terminal. The Minister directed officials to facilitate financial allocations for the remaining ECT construction work on a priority basis. The Minister emphasized that the welfare of the employees who perform their duties towards the development of the port be strengthened. A Special Committee headed by the SLPA Vice Chairman is to be appointed to resolve these issues. Considering the dilapidated condition of the present port's central kitchen, the Minister said that steps should be taken to construct a new central kitchen with modern facilities for the SLPA to provide quality meals and food items for employees.

The Minister also instructed officials of the SLPA's Medical Division to take measures to purchase a new bed-side monitor, needed for patient care and observation and also take steps to replace broken X-ray machines under Tender procedures. Attention was also focused on upgrading facilities at the Galle and Trincomalee Ports. Accordingly, the Minister instructed that the proposals received from suitable investors be re-evaluated and suitable action be taken in accordance with the relevant procurement procedures in order to obtain investments.

The Minister also pointed out the importance of further strengthening the SLPA’s Mahapola Ports & Maritime Academy to train Seafarers and establish enhanced facilities for the country's youth willing to avail themselves of the opportunities in the commercial maritime sector.

The Minister noted that the sector is well poised to increase foreign revenue for the country and instructed the relevant officials to immediately take measures to utilise the SLPA buildings and training facilities for this purpose.

He also instructed that measures be taken to overcome shortcomings in the institutional employee recruitment procedures and institutional procedures pointed out by the port trade unions. He noted that it was essential to acknowledge trade union representatives and consider their views and proposals when preparing a new institutional procedure for the submission and approval of the Department of Management Services.



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