TRANSSHIPMENT container volumes at the Port of Colombo slumped in November as the port’s operation faced disruptions due to the second wave of Covid-19 in the country, leading to congestion at the container terminals.

The container transshipment volumes declined by 7.4 per cent year on year to 394,737 TEU in November, after recovering to pre-pandemic levels in July, the Central Bank (CB) data showed.

The container throughput at the port’s deep-water terminal, Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), declined by 11.5 per cent to 206,000 TEU in the month compared to the same period in 2019. Consequently, the overall container handling at the Port of Colombo, including domestic container handling, fell by 9.2 per cent to 491,836 TEU in November.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said the operations of the port returned to normalcy by early part of December and that container transshipment volumes in the 11-month period declined by 2.3 per cent year on year to 5.17 million TEU.

The overall container handling at the port stood at 6.29 million TEU during the 11-month period, recording a year-on-year decline of 4.5 per cent.

CICT was the largest contributor by handling 2.625 million TEU despite recording a decline of 0.1 per cent year on year in the period. SLPA officials project the container throughput at Port of Colombo to come close to 7 million TEU at end of this year, down from 7.2 million TEU in 2019.