MRIA, H'tota Port projects milestones with long-term plans
The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and the Hambantota
Port projects are two mega development programs that were indeed much
looked forward to during recent times.
The opposition meanwhile expects planes to be queueing for their turn
to touch down at Mattala and ships lining up in the seas to dock at the
Port from the day the two projects were opened, just like in the Pettah
However, both these development projects were built with long term
plans to bring economic prosperity to the nation.
Already a few aviation experts know that the economic benefits from
MRIA are being reaped. Due to the new airport, a new landing facility
has been opened to the world, and aircrafts are now flying over MRIA
aware of its availability in case of emergency. All these flights that
are now going over Sri Lanka have to pay for each passenger on board and
also for the cargo that they carry!
In a bid to get additional revenue by refuelling, the MRIA also
introduced a fuel hydrant system and aviation refuelling terminal at
MRIA in Mattala.
The automated fuel hydrant system along with the state of the art
aviation refuelling terminal facility was constructed at a cost of Rs. 5
billion ($ 40 million). The Mattala airport project drew attention over
the absence of a proper refuelling facility for the aircrafts.
The functioning of the automated fuel hydrant system along with the
state of the art aviation terminal facility will become an important
milestone in the aviation industry in Sri Lanka in many ways for the
economic development, employment generation and regional development in
the near future, a Government spokesman said.
In addition to the refuelling unit, the facility comprises a
high-tech computerised refuelling unit, a fire hydrant system and fire
hazard identification system.
The fully computerised oil storage terminal has the capacity to store
three million litres of aircraft fuel. The refuelling facility can
supply fuel to the world's largest passenger aircraft such as an
Airbus-340 which can take in 310,000 litres of aviation fuel.
The required Jet-A1 fuel will be initially supplied by 33,000 litres
capacity Road Tankers from the CPSTL Kolonnawa installation, until the
Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) aviation storage tank farm at the
Hambantota Port facility is ready for operations. A pipeline corridor
from Hambantota Port to MRIA over a length of around 32 kilometres has
been allocated by the Road Development Authority for a Jet-A1 fuel
transfer pipeline to be constructed in the future, based on the
increasing demand for Jet-A1 fuel at MRIA.
Three tanks at the oil storage facility have been leased out to the
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) for aviation fuel to be supplied to
the Mattala International Airport and the other three tanks have been
leased out to Litro Gas Company for LP gas storage.
According to the Government, the aviation refuelling facility
incorporated in to the overall plan of airport and aviation services in
Sri Lanka, and in the design of the Hambantota International Airport (HIA)
by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) did not have a fuel hydrant
system and the required capacities in the fuel storage tanks and
associated facilities, required for an international airport of this
Therefore, the CPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Industries undertook
the task of building a state of the art fuel hydrant system and an
aviation refuelling terminal with the required storage capacities of Jet
A1 fuel in 2010. The total project has cost CPC nearly Rs. 5 billion
using its own funding.
Initial design of the fuel farm was only adequate for a very small
airport and not at all sufficient for an international airport which
requires a large storage to maintain an adequate buffer stock for any
eventuality, the Government said.
The fuel hydrant system within the apron area was constructed by the
main airport contractor China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for a
negotiated price of $ 7,175,326.13 without any variation claims
The construction of the aviation terminal and the interconnecting
pipelines of 1.2 kilometres long was assigned to Amana Pipeline
Construction LLC of Dubai, UAE on a competitive tender basis with
Cabinet approval for $ 31,251,504.02 which has been successfully
completed without any extra cost to CPC.
Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa also declared open the oil tank farm
and commissioned ship bunkering operations at the Hambantota Port.
The oil tank farm, comprising 14 tanks, was constructed at the
Hambantota Port with an investment of US$ 76 million
The farm has eight tanks for fuel bunkering facilities for vessels,
three tanks for aero fuel and three tanks for storing LP gas. The 14
tanks will also have an overall capacity of 80,000m3.
The project is composed of five up-right tanks with dome in 10,000m3,
three up-right tanks with dome in 5,000m3, three up-right tanks with
dome in 3,000m3, three spherical LPG tanks with 2,000m3 and all
necessary auxiliary facilities, according to a SLPA statement.
The tank farm will initially handle 55,000 tonnes of shipping fuel
with eight tanks and is expected to add further 100,000 tonnes under the
It is envisaged that many of the 4,500 oil tankers would anchor at
Hambantota for bunkering, ship repairing and also to purchase food,
water, medical supplies as well as logistics, Wickrama said.
The Sri Lankan government has decided to keep the port open for the
school children and other visitors to witness fuelling of ships.
Hambantota Port brings in revenue
MRMRP has received 91 vessel calls for the period from January to May
this year against 35 calls for the same period last year indicating a
positive change of 160.0 percent. The cargo handled at the port for the
same period this year is 102,558 tonnes against 21,542 tonnes for the
same period last year that indicates a positive change of 376.1 percent.
MRMRP also received 87 RO-RO vessels from January to May this year
against 35 such vessels for the same period last year pointing to a
positive change of 148.6 percent. The total number of motor vessels
handled for the same period this year at MRMRP is 72,612 units against
13,186 units for the same period last year pointing to a positive change
of 450.7 percent.
During the period this year MRMRP has handled 14,019 domestic and
58,593 transshipment units in RO-RO operations ringing in revenue to the
To date all developmental activities at MRMRP are being successfully
carried out with the supervision of Project Minister of Highways, Ports
and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena and instructions by Dr. Priyath
B.Wickrama, the Chairman of SLPA.