When ready, Sri Lanka's new Colombo South Harbour port terminal, a US$ 500 million project built by a consortium led by China Merchant Holdings International which put up 55% of the funding compared to local partners Aitken Spence and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, who will maintain a 30% and 15% stake, respectively, will be the only port in the region equipped to service new 18,000 Twenty foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) container vessels when they come online in 2013, according to Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman of Aitken Spence's Cargo Sector business unit.
Dr. Dissanayake's comments were made at a press conference held on the occasion of Aitken Spence's 30th anniversary of its partnership with Netherlands-based TNT Express, where he also noted that the the challenge was to now move Sri Lanka's status to that of a higher margin, logistics centre, instead of Colombo being a just a transshipment hub.
Further revealed, regarding TNT Express in Sri Lanka, this business unit had an annual revenue of Rs. 750 million, with 10% to 15% year-on-year revenue growth and 10% to 12% year-on-year volume growth. This is also in comparison to the the overall local market which grows 5% to 6% annually, and the top player is DHL with 30% to 45% market share while Aitken Spence has 14% to 16%. It also emerged that 60% of all revenue for the local business was from US-targetted exports by garment manufacturers.
According to a company statement, TNT Express has grown locally from an office with just three prople in 1981, and initially known as Ace Cargo, to having 150 dedicated employees, 25 offices island-wide and a fleet of over 50 vehicles while, globally, TNT Express delivers four million consignments a day and has 83,000 staff, with a turnover of 7 billion euros.