Sri Lanka harbors have big maritime ambitions

Sri Lanka harbors have big maritime ambitions

The dramatic recent fire on a container ship off Sri Lanka highlighted the risks involved in the island nation’s ambitions to become one of the world’s busiest maritime hubs.

MV X-Press Pearl burned for 13 days, releasing tons of chemicals and plastics. The sinking ship’s nearly 300 tons of fuel oil may now leak into the Indian Ocean.

How important is Sri Lanka?

Thanks to its geographical location, around 200 container ships and oil tankers sail past every day on the busy routes between Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

But Sri Lanka is also the biggest so-called transshipment hub in South Asia.

Meaning that some of the world’s biggest ships dock in Sri Lanka to load and unload containers.

Colombo, four days by ship from Singapore and four and a half to Dubai, is the only port between those two places deep enough to handle ships.


Colombo Port now hopes to double its annual handling capacity of 7.2 million containers in four years.

“We are strategically located and we are strategically important,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Daya Ratnayake told AFP.

“But, we have a serious problem here, the problem is (lack of) capacity.”

India is developing a deep-water port at Vizhinjam on its southwest tip and is planning another in the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, both of which may steal some of Colombo’s trade.


Two-thirds of the transshipment cargo going through Sri Lanka is goods going from or to India.

And New Delhi has traditionally seen Colombo as an ally.

However, since a big chunk of what passes through the Indian Ocean is Chinese-made, Beijing has also shown a keen interest in developing Sri Lanka as a key link on its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Since 2014, Colombo Port has been home to a US$500-million Chinese-run deep sea terminal. To pacify New Delhi, this year allowed India to build another new terminal right next door.

“This is how we are balancing,” Ratnayake said. “We as a country must take all this competition to our advantage.”

Source: Channel News Asia

Maritime containers how many types exist

Maritime containers: how many types exist

Freight traffic has evolved a lot since its inception. In the middle of the 20th century, a new standard began to be used, maritime containers.

Thanks to these standard containers, the loading, and unloading of ships in ports were simplified. Ships, cranes, trains, and trucks were standardized. In this way, Intermodal transport was created, which is the articulation between different modes of transport using a single measure of cargo, containers, which simplifies loading, unloading, and transshipment.

There are different types of shipping containers, all with standard dimensions and each designed to suit a specific need.

Types of maritime containers

Dry van containers

The Dry Van maritime containers are the most used containers; they are hermetic containers without ventilation. They are stackable up to 8 levels and are made of corten steel, which makes them very robust.

These containers have doors only on one side and standard dimensions with a width of 2.40m and a height of 2.60m. There are two typical models depending on the length, 20 feet and 40 feet which are equivalent to 6 and 12 meters respectively. There are also other less used models such as 30 feet or 10 feet.

High cube container

The High Cube maritime containers are very similar to the Dry Van except for their height since the High cube containers are 9’6 ” (2,896 meters) high and the 40 ‘Dry Van containers are 8’6’ ‘( 2,591 meters). This extra height is ideal for bulky and oversized loads.

Open top maritime containers

The Open Top containers are also very similar to the Dry Van, with averages of 20 and 40 feet, with the difference that the Open Top has no roof. As they do not have a roof, they can be loaded above, making it easier to load heavy or bulky goods that can be difficult to get through the door. To cover the merchandise, a canvas awning is usually put on them.

Open side container

The Open Side maritime containers are another type of container very similar to the Dry Van, although the latter has large 4-leaf doors that allow easy access to the goods for loading and unloading. There are 20 and 40 feet.

They are very useful for loading long goods that cannot be loaded through normal doors or to be able to reach the goods at the back without having to remove all those in front.

Flat rack container

The Flat Rack container is a container without a roof and without sidewalls. It is used to transport heavy or oversized goods. The merchandise is lashed by chains or tapes to the flat rack.

Tank maritime containers

Tank containers are for transporting liquids in bulk. It is a tank contained within a structure of steel beams that make it the same dimensions as a standard container. In this way, the tank can be manipulated and loaded in transports as one more container.

Refrigerated / reefer container

The refrigerated container is a type of container intended for the transport of goods with temperature control, either cold or hot. They can maintain the temperature of the merchandise from -30ºC to + 40ºC, there are even some special models that can reach -60ºC.

We can find refrigerated containers of 20 and 40 feet, even some of 10 feet, although the latter are not usually used for freight traffic. Like the other containers, they can have the normal height or be a high cube.

Bill of Lading functions and items

Bill of Lading: functions and items

The bill of lading is a standardized international transport contract that contains the general declaration of the transported goods.

This document is an instrument used to verify the receipt and delivery of the merchandise transferred by a carrier. There, the relevant aspects of the load are specified so that there is proof of the transported material.

In this way, at the time of delivery, only the consignee of the bill of lading can claim ownership of the cargo. In this sense, it constitutes a binding document for the contracting parties.

Bill of lading functions

Some functions of the bill of lading, which make it so important in the transportation of merchandise, are the following

  • Receipt of merchandise: to receive the merchandise, the consignee must present this document. In this way, the carrier transfers responsibility for the cargo to its owner. Also, he has a signed legal document that declares that he has delivered the agreed order in full.
  • Ownership of the merchandise: the bill of lading serves as evidence for the consignee to show ownership of the cargo at its destination. It also allows the carrier to release the cargo to its legal owner according to the contract.
  • Endorsement of the carrier’s rate: this document also serves to establish the price of the carrier’s service in a legal document. That is the price of the freight. It also establishes the calculation method, for example, if the cost is by weight, volume, or transport units.

Items included

  • The information contained in a bill of lading must be duly detailed. In this sense, the objective is to avoid, as far as possible, a delay in the clearance of the cargo due to a customs inspection.
  • Therefore, the standard information found on the bill of lading is as follows:
  • Name, address, telephone, and email of the exporter, final recipient or consignee, and the notifier of the status of the shipment.
  • Mode of transport through which the goods will be transported to the port of loading.
  • The place where the shipping company takes possession of the cargo.
  • The name of the ship and the identification number of the voyage in which the cargo to be delivered to the consignee at the destination is transported.
  • Port in which the merchandise will be loaded at the origin.
  • Port of destination where the merchandise will arrive.
  • Unique reference number of the Bill of Lading.
  • Complete details of the freight forwarder and license number.
  • Point and country of origin of the merchandise.
  • Full details of the agent at the destination that will manage the release of the cargo. The terminal where the merchandise will be loaded onto the ship.
  • Shipping method.
  • Visible marks and indications on the external part of the load made in order to identify the goods.
  • Description of each package, including details of the type of merchandise, type of packaging, the quantity for each package, and the number of units in its smallest measure. Cargo handling instructions, if any, are also included in this field.
  • Complete list of surcharges and surcharges such as ocean freight.
  • Signature and stamp of the shipping company.
Container Cargo ship and Cargo plane with working crane bridge in shipyard background, logistic import export background and transport industry.

Maritime Vessels: what are the types?

Maritime vessels in international trade are a type of maritime transport of export goods, these are vessels carrying large amounts of weight. In addition to this, they can navigate very long distances.

Ships are classified into different categories, these categories range from cargo and passage to fishing and warfare, merchant ships belonging to the cargo category, in turn, merchant ships are also classified according to two criteria, the first criterion is the route of transport and the second cargo.

Today we will talk about the types of maritime vessels that exist, in order to learn a little about their characteristics and uses.

Types of maritime vessels

General cargo ships

Also known as a multipurpose vessel or general cargo vessel, this vessel carries out the transport of dry goods. Most of them are used for the transport of loose merchandise and do not carry out the transport of merchandise in containers, very heavy loads or special loads, like other maritime vessels this vessel is equipped with specialized equipment for loading and unloading of merchandise.

Bulk Carriers

Bulk carriers are part of the types of maritime vessels and are responsible for the transfer of dry loose merchandise, within this type of merchandise we find minerals, grains, cement, among others they also transport merchandise whose weight determines the price of the trip, as well as the previous type of ship, this also has enough equipment for loading and unloading of merchandise, which saves you the use of port machinery.

Container ships

Within maritime transport, container ships represent 52% of the transfer of all merchandise, its name is due to the fact that the cargo they transport is protected in containers, the containers can be open-top, flat rack, high cube, with the platform, tank containers and refrigerated.

Roll-on / roll-off maritime vessels

This type of maritime vessels has the function of transporting merchandise with wheels, this merchandise can be automobiles and depending on the complexity of the vessel, even trucks and heavy machinery with wheels.

Reefer maritime vessels

The merchandise transported in international trade is very diverse, for this reason, there are different types of maritime vessels, refrigerated ships have the task of transporting merchandise with special heat treatment, protected products can be refrigerated or frozen.

Oil tankers

Crude oil ships or oil tankers are intended to transport oil, in international trade these ships are the largest vessels, they are capable of transporting more than 318,000 deadweight tons.

Liquefied gas vessels

Within the merchant ships, we can also get a ship destined for the transport of liquefied natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, this type of vessel transports its merchandise inside cylindrical tanks located on the deck of the same.

Chemical cargo ships

This type of chemical vessel is used to transport chemical products, these products are stored in stainless steel tanks or with a coating to avoid corrosion, these vessels can transport more than one type of chemical product due to their size and they have more than one tank.

Cattle maritime vessels

This livestock vessel is used for the transport of live animals, the animals that are transported are cattle, sheep, and goats, the animals are protected in two ways, the first is corrals located on decks and the second is inside the temperature regulated boat.

Ships for project cargo

These project cargo ships specialize in transporting from small vessels to larger ones that exceed it in structure, they can also transport semi-submersible vessels and oil platforms.

ports of singapore.

Ports of Singapore: What about them?

The ports of Singapore are all those specialized maritime coasts for the maritime treatment of vessels that require logistical management to leave any cargo in that territory, ranging from food to motor vehicles.

The creation of the ports of Singapore was not with the intention of expanding trade, but rather a necessity due to not having enough land to carry out agricultural activities or the consolidation of large companies.

For the Singapore government, seaports are considered for the purchase of all goods and services that cannot be processed within their limitations, as it in turn functions as a way to strengthen alliances with other states and market their services.

Main sea ports of Singapore

Singapore Container Port Terminal

It is located right on the Malaysian peninsula, in the northern part of the Riau Islands on its border with Indonesia. It is considered the smallest area among the towns in Singapore.

Within its facilities there are two terminals called: Jurong Port and PSA Corporation Limited, being the only active seaports in the country.

Both are capable of serving any type of vessel, including large container vessels with bulk cargo, general cargo, mountainous or ro – ro vessels.

Jurong Port

It is a terminal that works as an operator based in the country, its purpose is to mobilize and move all types of freight, either cargo or bulk.

Annually this port registers approximately 40 thousand requests for the unloading of goods and services on its lands.

On the land level, it has good connections to the Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim Road, one of the trunk roads leading to the main Jurong Highway, the popular Seraya Avenue and Sugnei Jurong.

Its infrastructure has 32 moorings in all the docks and coasts of the ports of Singapore, its resistance is 15 thousand tons in weight, so it can be able to move a large number of containers or TEUs.

Its beginnings were in 1965, as an initiative of the Singapore Economic Development Board(EDB) for the sustained increase in the growth of the port city.

PSA Corporation Limited

Its operations are hosted for the mobilization and movement of containers in the terminals of: Tanjong Pagar, Pasir Panjang, Keppel and Brani.

Its service capacity is good, as a result of its availability of 52 docks dedicated to TEUs, and its working hours is 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

For merchants, this is one of the most advanced PSA port areas in Singapore. Its infrastructure is based on a 16-meter-deep mooring, including several cranes assembled on the coast capable of moving 22 rows of TEUs.

Its port instrumentation system has added values, therefore, it is more advanced with the adaptation of the latest versions of machinery for maritime exploitation with limits of up to six grippers.

For better organization, it has a car terminal in the case of boats with automotive materials and others for activities with containers.

Why should I choose any of the Singapore ports for my transactions?

The ports of Singapore have good machinery for grabbing and moving goods in less time, not to mention that their customs laws are quite flexible and friendly unlike other ports.

Another interesting point is that if the company plans to expand its products, maybe the ports of Singapore are a good option.

This country is characterized by higher levels of exports, that is, the purchase of products abroad because, being a small nation, they necessarily need to buy inputs abroad.

They can also serve as an intermediary when it comes to establishing alliances with world traders in Malaysia or Indonesia.

Because Singapore offers better deals in reducing costs for procedures, it is more attractive for companies to disembark in these ports and then transport to neighboring countries.

If you are interested in conforming a export or import company in Singapore, you might be interested in this article.

Singapore as a hub for global shipping

This year despite the global economic crisis as a result of the pandemic, Singapore remained as the world’s leading shipping hub.

Its geographical location, as well as the ecosystem of the shipping industry, seem to be some of the reasons that give Singapore for the seventh consecutive year the first place in the Development Index of the Xinhua-Baltic International Maritime Transport Center.

This index provides an independent ranking of the performance of the world’s largest cities offering port business and shipping services.

Considering that 90% of world trade moves in containers, there is no doubt that the shipping industry plays a fundamental role in the development of the global economy.

On the world port stage, most of the market players are in Asia.

Transit remains despite the Covid-19

The crisis caused by Covid-19 influenced all the seaports in the world, Singapore due to its proximity to China, was one of the first ports in which maritime traffic was affected.

However, the statistics reflect some stabilization during the Q1 of this 2020.

Overall, Singapore managed to operate with a total of 53.08 million tons, which is 2% more compared to the same period in 2019.

The increase in container goods reached 32.53 tons, representing a slight increase of 1.5% compared to 2019.

The Port of Singapore

Before Shanghai snatched the position from it, the Singapore port was between 2005 and 2010 the first in the ranking of the most important ports in the world.

The history of this port dates back to 1819, when it was built to compensate for the island’s lack of natural resources, allowing goods to enter it.

Nowadays, the port of Singapore offers connections to more than 600 ports in 123 countries on 6 continents, with 130,000 ships passing through its docks each year.

It is also the largest transshipment port in the world, hosting around 20% of the world’s containers.

Port authorities are working on the development of the Tuas Port, currently Singapore’s largest port project, with its first berths to be operational in 2021.

When the project is finished in 2040, the Tuas Port is expected to be the largest fully automated terminal in the world.

Advantages of Maritime Transport

Maritime transport is capable of offering more competitive prices adapted to each form of shipping.

It adapts to the requirements of practically all types of product through the adjustments of the ships and containers.Despite being a slower means of transport, it is also one of the most sustainable on the market.