Sri Lanka's Port of Colombo set a record in July by handling 185,697 TEUs, its highest-ever monthly total.
Throughput during the seven months ending July increased 12.5 percent to 1.1 million TEUs over the same period last year, according to a statement from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
The port's mainstay transshipment volumes increased by about 13.5 percent during the period.
The SLPA attributed the gains to several measures including downsizing of the port workforce by 3,500; productivity increases at the state-run Jaya Container Terminal; the elimination of some fees paid by shipping lines, and the signing of terminal service agreements with major carriers.
Colombo has two terminals, state-run Jaya and the private South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT).
Jaya Terminal recorded 16 percent growth in transshipment volumes reflecting a strong correlation between reforms and the surge in volumes, the authority said. "The performance has resulted in the Port of Colombo reestablishing its position as the preeminent gateway to the Indian sub-continent market."
But SAGT did not share the state-run terminal's elation, saying growth comes in comparison to year-ago conditions when the shipping industry was still reeling from domestic and international crises.
SAGT also criticized what it calls "price undercutting" by SLPA, which reduced handling charges after several shipping lines signed terminal service agreements. According to SAGT, its concession agreement prevents it from lowering charges below those offered by SLPA until next August.