New SIPA CEO meets Prime Minister, vows to improve ports
THE new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) has pledged the revive the tainted images of the Honiara and Noro ports and put them back on the regional map as the best state-operated port in the Pacific region within the next six months.
CEO Mr Eranda Kotelawala made the pledge when he held his first meeting with Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare yesterday as he prepares for his first official visit to the Noro Port in Western Province.
Mr Kotelawala said since taking up his post last month, he has seen a great boost in the team morale of his SIPA staff, and is keen to further build on this positive development.
He said the prime objective of making SIPA provide efficient port services is starting to pay-off as the institution is achieving massive turn-around in its ship-clearing time and high staff morale, which he said is the key to an efficient and profitable port system.
Since taking up his post, Mr Kotelawala has met with relevant government agencies and industry representatives to introduce himself and brief them of his immediate goals.
Mr Kotelawala said the geo-strategic location of the Honiara port, coupled with enough development space, has made it a potential transhipment hub for large cargo volumes.
He said so far, there is ‘positive outlook’ on the position of SIPA amongst industry groups and their principals and he is hoping that the volume of cargoes transhipped through the Honiara and Noro ports will soon increase in the near future.
Mr Kotelawala said he is encouraged by the support and assurance from donor agencies about the future infrastructure and human resources development of SIPA and has thanked the SIPA Board and the Solomon Islands Government and citizens for giving him the opportunity to lead a thriving institution.
He said Honiara International Port has the potential to be one of the best ports in the Pacific region if the benefits of its geo-strategic location can be harnessed to its full potential as a shipping trade route.
Mr Kotelawa, who is now four weeks into his new job, is from Sri Lanka and was educated and trained in various institutions in UK, Canada, USA and his home country.
Prior to his CEO appointment with SIPA, he served as Chief Operating Officer for Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd.
Mr Kotelawala was accompanied by SIPA Board Chairman, Billy Titiulu and Board Member Charles Ashley.