April 18, 2012, 6:19 pmThe real reason behind the Govt’s decision to use the Hambantota port to unload vehicles is pretty obvious. Whatever the other reasons given, it is obviously an attempt to make that port less of a ‘white elephant’ than it is now. I say this despite still being a backer of the UPFA Govt., although disillusioned somewhat by some aspects of its record to date.
Has the Govt. considered the extra costs the vehicle trade, as well as the buyers will incur as a result? The need for several trips up and down, to H’tota from Colombo and other cities that may arise due to various factors between arrival, unloading, clearances of various sorts and removal should be obvious.
The extra and unnecessary toll of the roads to and fro, of wear and tear of the vehicles used therefore, time wasted in travelling that far and back, the extra expenditure on fuel, possible demurrage payment by the trade/buyers etc, etc that maybe entail, clearly reveals the idiocy of this move.
It may also be ‘a penny-wise, pound-foolish’ move in the mid/long term, considering that the visible and invisible costs that would be incurred, as mentioned above, may exceed the income that H’tota will get. And what about more Tsunamis or Tsunami alerts in the future, which cannot be ruled out, resulting in hold ups in unloading? Colombo is much safer in that respect.
The reason for the move ostensibly is the possibility of quicker unloading when ships are held up outside Colombo harbour for one reason or other. How often does this happen? Possibilities of unloading in Colombo being manoeuvred for that purpose? So, the SLPA Chairman’s grounds for the H’tota move are untenable, perhaps bogus.
The Govt. must reconsider and cancel this H’tota arrangement for its economic unjustifiability.