April, 19, 2017
Following 13 days of operational disruption at its berth, team SAGT made a ground breaking deal that brought a mutually satisfactory end to the stand-off. The disruption caused the diversion of several vessels to the two other terminals in the port.
Commenting on the resolution, CEO Erwin Haaze said "we deeply regret the disruption to our customers and thank each for their support & understanding. We are pleased however, to have gained consensus with our internal stakeholders involved to restore normalcy of terminal performance in a pragmatic and sustainable way with immediate effect".
He further added "we very much appreciate the operational collaboration of the SLPA, JCT & CICT in our collective focus on minimising impact to the Port of Colombo during this time".
The Port of Colombo has made significant strides in recent years moving to number 23 in the world’s top 30 ports ranking.
SAGT itself received global awards in consecutive years for world class terminal productivity, including the best in South Asia and number 4 in the world.
Although the company declined to comment on details leading to the resolution, it is understood that despite the initial days of stand-off, dialogue in the 24 hours prior to settlement had been very constructive with all parties determined to find resolution and end the continued disruption caused to customers and the broader Importer/Exporter community.
Chandana Wijayanama, SAGT's General Manager for Human Resources said "this agreement maintained the sanctity of the Collective Agreement (CA) signed just six months ago. Yet, enabled us to accomplish a sustainable outcome based on sensible principles of workforce engagement in a commercially responsible way". He added "There is a collective determination by all involved to ensure disruption of this nature does not recur. That is the most important achievement - to foster an environment conducive to delivering a reliable, consistent and sustainable "best in class" service level to our customers".
The company expects to ramp up to its usual high-productivity benchmarks within 48 hours and normalise it's berthing window protocols within this week.
South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT) the first private stevedoring company in Sri Lanka (with approximately 60% of Sri Lankan shareholdership) commenced operations in 1999, launching the Port of Colombo as global trade’s eminent gateway hub to South Asia. Today, the terminal is one of three operators in the Port of Colombo and continues to offer the international container shipping community a competitive best in class service. SAGT is a Board of Investment flagship company consisting of four shareholders – John Keells Holdings, APM Terminals, SLPA and Peony investments (subsidiary of Evergreen Marine Corporation).
Chief Executive Officer