AsiaPorts and Logistics

Pedal power: Colombo dockworkers issued with bicycles as fuel shortages cripple local economy

The dire economic situation in Sri Lanka has seen port workers at the island’s main port of Colombo issued with bicycles to get around as fuel shortages hit home.

Sri Lanka is facing power cuts and fuel shortfalls due to foreign exchange shortages, with the country also battling severe inflation in one of the worst economic crises to hit the island for generations.

State-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has received assurances of continued electricity supply and ample fuel for operations, but has gratefully accepted a donation of 100 bicycles from the Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents to help port staff get around. The SLPA has built a cycle track along a disused railway line for staff to move around the port.

Despite plenty of speculation predominantly in Indian media circles, Sri Lankan port officials insist that there has been no drop in traffic at Colombo, south Asia’s number one transhipment hub.

Effective from today all shipping lines calling the country must pay their dues in US dollars not the decimated local currency, something the government estimates ought to bring in more than $100m a year.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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