Port of Colombo to Become a Smart Port in 18 Months

Rs. 929 Million Allocated for Upgrades to Terminal Management and Cargo Systems

A full-scale IT infrastructure drive is currently underway to transform the Port of Colombo — Sri Lanka’s busiest port — into a ‘Smart Port’, Honourable Minister of Ports, Shipping and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayaka announced today (25). 

“Transforming the Port of Colombo into a Smart Port is a timely need,” the Hon. Minister said, adding that Rs. 929 million has been allocated for the project, which has been included in the Asian Development Bank-supported master plan for Sri Lanka’s port development. 

Hon. Minister Ratnayaka said the Port of Colombo’s transformation into a Smart Port will ensure the development of a collaborative approach that will make the port ‘smart’ in terms of flow, situation or customer management. 

“This is a long-drawn process that will happen over time with rapidly advancing technology. But our Smart Port initiative will lay the groundwork for the longer-term transformation with the right IT and tech infrastructure.”

Under this project, the Minister added, Colombo Port’s IT and information systems would be upgraded to streamline terminal management and cargo systems. He expressed optimism that it would be completed within 12-18 months.

“There are many technical aspects to this. For instance, the upgraded Terminal Management System will include Gate Automation, Yard Automation, Quay Side Automation, Prime Route DGPS, Business Intelligence Tools, web portals and simulation tools.”

“In layman’s terms, this means Colombo Port will operate with greater efficiency and handle a greater volume of activities within a shorter period of time with the use of advanced IT and information systems,” Ratnayaka explained. 

“What we need to understand is that being smart is a mindset. Colombo must embrace the Smart Port concept with the right frame of mind. This is not about upgrading IT and information systems and forgetting everything else. Cleanliness of the port, the attitude of workers, its administration and welfare should also be geared towards the same transformation,” he added. 

He also thanked the management of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and its Director of Information Systems Dr. Prasanna Lokuge for spearheading the project.

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