Wan Hai Lines has added a call to Colombo, Sri Lanka to its Asia-US East Coast service. On May 16, the newly built 13,000 TEU Wan Hai A10 docked in Colombo as part of the upgraded AA7 service.
With the stop at the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), growing freight volumes from the Indian subcontinent are to be tapped; Sri Lanka is a major textile exporter.
The AA7 service now serves Shanghai, Ningbo, Taipei, Shekou, Cai Mep, Singapore, Colombo, New York, Norfolk, Charleston and Savannah.
Wan Hai said it has been serving the markets of India and Sri Lanka for more than 20 years and opened an office in New Delhi on May 5, demonstrating its commitment to the subcontinental market.
The Taiwanese operator, which is primarily an intra-Asian freight forwarder, switched to the transpacific lane in 2020. Wan Hai said he has been cultivating the markets of India and Sri Lanka for more than 20 years and his shipping network now covers all the major ports on the east, west and south coasts of India as well as Colombo, the hub for the Indian subcontinent.
Textiles and clothing make up just over half of Sri Lanka’s exports, with the US, UK, Germany, Belgium and Italy being the main destinations.
Container throughput in Colombo fell 5% yoy to 6.86 million TEU in 2022 as mainline operators abandoned Sri Lanka’s main container port due to political and supply chain instability. The situation resulted in Maersk Line diverting transhipment cargo from India and opting to ship the containers to Europe by rail.
The Sri Lankan government is keen to remedy the situation and earlier this year launched a business development program involving the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, CICT, the SAGT Terminal, the Sri Lanka Shipping Agents Association and the Sri Lanka Shipowners Association.
Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva said about $19 million has been allocated for the modernization of CICT, which is being accelerated.
Last month, China Merchants Ports Holdings announced it would build a $392 million logistics complex in Colombo, the largest in South Asia.