1. Sea is a one of the most important mode of transportation of a nation to connect with the out word nations in the world. It facilitates export and import of substance from country to another country which is essential part of the present day context. Sri Lanka is an island which located at the vital point of an Indian ocean (6°54Î„N - 79°54Î„E).It has become an unavoidable replenishment hub for ships which travel through Indian Ocean. Geographically unique location of the Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean has provided good maritime hub from the ancient history. Sri Lanka possesses numerous harbors including world 5th largest natural harbor to provide anchorage facilities for mercantile and other ships. As an island it is essential to encourage sea borne trade which will provide considerable amount of income for the national income. Three decades of war had restricted free maritime activities in the northern sea which created a negative impact on the development of the maritime trade in the Sri Lanka. Since, the internal conflict has been ended, infrastructure development of ports are paramount important to attract the shipping traders in to the country. Many development projects are being undertaken to develop the infrastructure facilities of port in Sri Lanka. Major development projects such as construction of Hambantota commercial port, construction of the Oluvil port and Colombo port renovate project are being carried out for the development of the country. These projects will enormously support the development of the nation in the future.
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2. The aim of this service paper is to examine the development of port services in Sri Lanka.
HISTORICAL BACK GROUND OF THE PORT SERVICES IN SRI LANKA AND EXPANSION
3. Navel history of the Sri Lanka has started with the historical back ground of the Silk Road (300BC) where people exchanged silk garments and other essential items from west to east .The Silk Road used by the ancient merchants and various groups to exchange silk garments, spices, medicine, gems and jewelries from china to India, Persia and to Egypt. It has got two distinguish road as land route and the maritime route. The Sri Lanka is located in an inescapable point of maritime route and played vital role in the maritime history. The Silk Road connected China, Myanmar, Thailand Sri Lanka India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq. Sri Lanka was famous for spices, gems, pearls and ivory in the history. Hence, merchants were attracted to Sri Lanka and sailed to exchange items. In history three identified harbors were located in the Sri Lanka. Mahatiththa (Mannar), Gokanna(Trincomalee) and Urkavalthurai(Kytes) are the most famous ports in the early history in the Sri Lanka.
4. Port of Mahatiththa has identified as great port in the history of the Sri Lanka. Geographically located near to south India has given tremendous impact to establish the port in the north western coast of the island. As result of the port Mahatiththa, it has identified early civilization started along the Malwatu oya river bank. It is mention in the one of inscription of king Nissankamalla has built a hall near to port to
utilization of the people who used the port facilities. Due to the transition of Anuradapura kingdom to the polonnaruwa, importance of port Gokanna has been identified by the kings of Polonnaruwa. There after, kings of Polonnaruwa has utilized the port of Gokanna as key to enhance the diplomatic relationship of the Sri Lanka. Port of Urkavalturai also identified as a great port in the history of Sri Lanka. It has being identified by the Historians, the Kalingha and Magha the invaders has embarked on the port of Urkavalthurai. Later on with the influence of the European power such as Portuguese and Dutch, sea born
Commercial was expanded in to a greater extent of the country. Subsequently, 1815 the British conquest island and transformed the sea born trade in to culminating point of the maritime industry in the history.
THE PRESENT EXISTING PORTS IN SRI LANKA
Colombo port. The Colombo harbor is the largest harbor in the Sri Lanka. It is located at Colombo which is the commercial city of Sri Lanka. Colombo harbor is well equipped and sufficient to face modern day harbor requirement. It is also ranked as a one of the busiest harbor in the world. It has the capability to handle cargo tonnage of 30.9 million tones in annually. Colombo port presently consists with three terminals. Namely, Jaya container terminal, South Asia Gateway terminal and Unity container terminal.
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Trincomalee port. Trincomalee harbor is one of the natural harbors in the world. It has been graded as fifth largest natural harbor in the world. It is located at Trincomalee which is situated at north eastern coast of the Sri Lanka. Due to it is strategic value many Europeans including The Portuguese, Dutch, French and English were hold the port respectively.
Galle port. The port of Galle is located at south west of Sri Lanka. Presently it is used as regional harbor in the Sri Lanka. Initially it built by Portuguese and later developed by the Dutch people. It has a historical value due to the Dutch port collocated with port from it is inception. It is projected to develop the Galle port as a tourist destination and will facilitate the yachts to attract the tourist in to the country.
Hambantota port. The port of Hambantota is recently constructed harbor in the Sri Lanka. The construction was initiated in year 2008.It will provided port facilities to ships which are travel from west to east south of Sri Lanka. It is planned to provide bunkering, repair, building and crew changes facilities to the ships which sail to the port. Port project is initiated with help of Chinese government.
Kankasanturai port. Kankasanturai port is located at northern part of the Sri Lanka .It is used as a regional port and currently utilized by the Sri Lanka navy. Port is very small and it can accommodate only 500 long vessels. It is planned to develop Kankasanturai port with the help of Indian government. Initial survey has been completed in the last July and reconstruction of the port will provide domestic and regional port facilities in Sri Lanka.
Point Pedro port. Port of Point Pedro is a minor harbor and situated at northern coast of the Sri Lanka. Presently it is controlled by the Sri Lanka army. It is opened for public fore their day today fishing with some regulations. It is expected that Sethu Samudram project will enhance the productivity of port of Point Pedro. Due to it is strategic value of the location, the development of port will immensely valuable for the economy of the Sri Lanka.
Oluvil port. Port project of Oluvil initiated on 1st July 2008. Port is located at eastern province of the Sri Lanka. Port project was initiated with help of Denmark government. It is being suggested to complete the initial phase of the construction in coming September. It will be constructed as a commercial harbor and provide facilities for 5000 ton ships initially and develop up to 16000 ton ships. Also it will provide the facilities for fishing craft in the area. Development of the Oluvil port will support to aggregate the economy of the Sri Lanka in future.
DEVELOPMENT AND EXPANTION OF PORT SERVICES IN SRI LANKA
5. Initiation of the port service of Sri Lanka was expanded gradually from the Silk Road era and in year 1505 with the arrival of Portuguese port of Colombo was identified to the western world. After completing important mile stone the port service of the Sri Lanka has reached to considerable extent of the maritime industry in the world. Presently, several development projects under going in order to develop the port service in Sri Lanka. Mainly Hambantota harbor project and Oluvil harbor project are identified as key development project in the Sri Lanka. Starting from the year 1912, many development project and steps were taken to up lift the standard of port service in Sri Lanka. In year 1912 Colombo port was renovate in to a sheltered harbor and subsequently in year 1913 Colombo port commission was established to carry out the incoming task of the Colombo port.
6. In the year 1954 queen Elizabeth dock was opened and 16 berths, transit shed and ware houses were constructed subsequently. Gradual development of the port service was identified during this period and in the year of 1979 Sri Lanka port authority was formed .it is one of important point of the maritime history in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka port authority is responsible for the development and maintenance of commercial ports of the Sri Lanka. In the year 1980 queen Elizabeth terminal was opened and during 1985 to 1996 five terminals were constructed in the Colombo harbor. Those were named as Jaya terminals. Opening of the Oluvil maritime training center identified as one of the important step in the development of the port services in the Sri Lanka.
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7. In the same year Oluvil light house was commissioned and south Asia gate way terminal construction was commended. In the year 2000 commencement of Colombo south harbor feasibility study and commencement of construction of third birth in the Galle port were happened respectively. In the development process of the port services, opening of new jetty in the Galle port in year 2001 and commissioned of dragger Hansakawa in the same year identified as a main event in the maritime history. In the year 2002 opening of Ashroff jetty in the Trincomalee harbor accelerated the development of the port service in the Sri Lanka. Soon after in year 2003 opening of Sri Lanka Port Authority maritime museum in the Galle also culminating point of the Sri Lanka maritime history.
8. In the year 2006 MOU for the Hambantota port development project was signed with china government. This is marked as a historical event in the country maritime history. Subsequently, in year 2007 Hambantota port construction was begin and year 2008 marked the commencement of construction work in the Oluvil harbor as well. These mega projects will bring the country economy in to a decisive point in the future. In the year 2008 along with the Oluvil project, construction works of Colombo port expansion was begin in order to increase the handling of containers in the harbor. Year 2010 is important mile stone of the maritime history in Sri Lanka. Ceremony of the sea water filling to the Hambantota harbor and on 18 September 2010 cargo handling was started.
9. The Colombo harbor is the main harbor in the Sri Lanka. Many developments projects carried out to increase the growing demand of the country. Under present development projects two new breakwaters being constructed, 5.8km and 1.1km respectively. With completion of southern harbor
development project cargo handling will be increase up to significant level. Presently, Colombo port has the capacity of handle the 5000 containers in daily. It is also contain three container terminals including Jaya container terminal, South Asia gate way terminal and unity container terminal. These terminals provide 24 hour service in order to facilitate the existing demand of the country.
10. Development of the port service in Sri Lanka is now passing a significant era of the maritime history. It is due to construction of Hambantota port in the southern part of the Sri Lanka. The initial phase of the construction of port of Hambantota is to construct 600m general purpose berth, 310m bunkering berth and 120m small craft berth. After completion of project it is estimated to facilitate nearly 50000 indirect employment opportunities to the country. As the second phase it will include with the container terminal and third phase will be a construction of dockyard in the harbor. This project will immensely benefit the development of Sri Lanka in future.
11. Oluvil harbor project also a project important mile stone of the maritime history in the Sri Lanka. It will be constructed as commercial harbor in the Sri Lanka. Presently, administrative buildings internal roads, access road construction are in the progress, also commercial harbor jetty and land development projects are now in progress. Simultaneously, many development projects in the Trincomalee, Galle are being continuing for the up lift of the port service in the Sri Lanka. Overall, Sri Lanka is now ready to face upcoming demand in the maritime trade as an organized maritime hub in the Indian Ocean.
THE ROLE OF THE PORT AUTHORITY TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT OF PORT SERVISES IN SRI LANKA
12. The establishment which is established for the smooth function and the development of the port in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lanka port authority. It is also responsible for the maintenance and smooth function of the light houses in the Sri Lanka. There are 16 light houses in Sri Lanka and 2 of them are not in active role. The Sri Lanka port authority was started in year 1979 by act of parliament. From the inception of Sri Lanka port authority has played a tremendous role towards development of ports in Sri Lanka. Initially it had the responsibility of maintaining Port of Colombo, Port of Galle, Port of Trincomalee, Port of Point pedro and Port of Kankasanturai. According to the latest development in the port sector, such as Hambantota and Oluvil ports are also now under the emphasis of the Sri Lanka port authority. Security of the ports is being lies under the responsibility of the Sri Lanka Navy. In this regard Sri Lanka port authority has established a coordinated link with the Sri Lanka Navy.
13. In order to achieve the assign responsibility of the port sector, Sri Lanka port authority has got number of goals  such as:
Development and maintenance of all commercial ports of Sri Lanka.
Maintenance of effective and efficient port service.
Maintenance of high productivity levels in order to ensure speedy turnaround of the vessels.
Maintenance of a competitive edge to importers and exporters by ensuring a cost effective, efficient and reliable service.
Maintenance of port security and port infrastructure.
Maintenance of a conducive working environment for all stakeholders.
To raise funds to the general treasury for infrastructure development in the health, education and transport sectors.
14. Sea trade is one of the most important aspects of an island. It is one mode of connecting the country with the world. Sri Lanka is one of the recognized sea destination for the maritime trade from the ancient history. Hence, it is identified that establish of sound port service in the country is paramount important for the development of maritime trade in the country. According to the historical background, there were three identified ports were in Sri Lanka. Namely, Mahathiththa, Gokanna, Urkavalturai. These ports were then enormously help to the development of the country. During periods of Portuguese, Dutch and British maritime trade was developed gradually. According to the gradual development of the maritime sector, there are seven ports were irrupted around the country to meet the existing demand of the country.They are Colombo port, Trincomalee port, Galle port, Hambanthota port, Kankasanthurai port, Point Pedro port and Oluvil port. Colombo port is the main port in the Sri Lanka. It is well equipped and sufficient to face modern day harbor requirement. It is located at the commercial city of Sri Lanka.
15. Trincomalee port is the fifth largest natural harbor in the world. It facilitates maritime trade from the ancient history. Galle port is operated as a regional port and it will be developed as a tourist destination in the country. Hambantota port is recently constructed port and it will help to reduce the work load of the Colombo port in the future. Kankasnturai port is small scale harbor and presently, it is operated by the Sri Lanka Navy. Port of Point Pedro is located at Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Port is presently controlled by the Sri Lanka Army and it facilitates the port services for regional fisherman in the area. Oluvil port project is commenced on year 2008 and it will be developed as commercial port in the Sri Lanka. During the period of time many development project has initiated to develop the port service in Sri Lanka. Role of the Sri Lanka port authority towards the development of port services in Sri Lanka is highly appreciable. Colombo port has developed to meet the existing demand of the country and sufficiently equipped as per the international requirement. Hambantota and Oluvil port projects will contribute tremendous support on the future maritime sector in the Sri Lanka.
16. It is recommended that to formulate the under mention development programs for further enhancement of port services in Sri Lanka.
a. Develop the Kankasanturai port as a commercial port and there by reduce the travel distance from India to Sri Lanka.
b. Develop the Point Pedro port as a commercial port and it will reduce the economic disadvantage which will course by the Setu Samudram project.
c. Introducing of sea travel around the country as a tourism development tool.
d. Increase the welfare and other facilities of port employees in order to increase the working efficiency of the people.
e. Increase of public awareness programs regarding the port services provided by the port to the public and there by increase the export and import of the country.
f. Develop the Galle port as commercial port and it will reduce the work load of the Colombo port of the Sri Lanka.
g. Enhancement of security contingency plan with the help of Sri Lanka Navy and the Indian Navy to reduce the Somalian pirate's threat and there by create the smooth function of the navel routes in the Indian Ocean.
h. Formulate the projects to over come the negative impact of the Setu Samudram project.
i. Develop the infrastructure facilities of Trincomalee harbor to share the work load handled by the Colombo port.
j. Conduct propaganda regarding the facilities provided by the Sri Lankan port to the in coming vessels.