Wan Hai Lines has added a call at Colombo, Sri Lanka, to its Asia-US East Coast service. On 16 May, the newly built 13,000 teu Wan Hai A10 docked at Colombo as part of the adjusted AA7 service.
The stop at Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) intends to tap on growing cargo volumes from the Indian subcontinent; Sri Lanka is a major textile exporter.
The AA7 service now calls at Shanghai, Ningbo, Taipei, Shekou, Cai Mep, Singapore, Colombo, New York, Norfolk, Charleston and Savannah.
Wan Hai said that it has been working in the Indian and Sri Lankan markets for more than 20 years, and opened a New Delhi office on 5 May, showing its commitment to the subcontinental market.
The Taiwanese operator, which is primarily an intra-Asia carrier, moved into the Transpacific lane in 2020. Wan Hai said that it has cultivated the markets of India and Sri Lanka for more than 20 years, and its shipping network now covers all major ports on the east, west and south coasts of India, as well as Colombo, the transhipment hub for the Indian subcontinent.
Just over half of Sri Lanka’s exports comprise textiles and garments, with the US, UK, Germany, Belgium and Italy being key destinations.
Colombo’s container throughput declined by 5% year-on-year in 2022, to 6.86m teu, as mainline operators skipped Sri Lanka’s main container port due to political and supply chain instability. The situation saw Maersk Line diverting transhipment cargo from India, opting to rail the containers to Europe.
Sri Lanka’s government is striving to remedy the situation, and early this year, created a business promotion scheme involving Ministry of Ports and Shipping, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, CICT, SAGT Terminal, Sri Lanka Shipping Agents Association and Sri Lanka Ship Owners Association.
Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva said that about $19m has been allocated for CICT’s upgrading, which is being expedited.
Last month, China Merchants Ports Holdings announced a $392m construction of a logistics complex in Colombo, the largest in South Asia.