South Asia Gateway Terminals enters partnership to reforest Yagirala Reserve

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South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), the first Public-Private Partnership Container Terminal in Sri Lanka, entered a three-year partnership last week with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura’s Center for Sustainability. The partnership will focus on the reforestation of the Yagirala Forest Reserve.

Impacted by logging and the encroachment of other human activities, the tropical wet evergreen Yagirala Forest Reserve was assigned to the University of Sri Jayewardenepura’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Science in 1984 for research and protection by the Forest Department.

SAGT has a history of collaboration with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura’s Center for Sustainability. In 2019, volunteers from SAGT were instrumental in the planting of 700 trees in a 1-acre area of the Yagirala Forest Reserve as part of a broader reforestation project.

Reforestation of 4-acres of forest reserve

This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed last week is a commitment to restore a further 4 acres of land by the end of 2021 and to provide the ongoing maintenance of the 5-acre area until 2024. The project aims to plant more than 2,800 plants over a three-year period.

Sharing his views on the partnership, SAGT’s Chief Commercial Officer Ted Muttiah said, “The collaboration with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has enabled us to combine resources and capabilities for the common cause of improving Sri Lanka’s environment. Terminal operations have a heavy carbon footprint yet are an integral part of the country’s economic wellbeing. For this reason, partnerships like this together with investments in operational equipment and innovations to drive decarbonization in our operations support our aspiration to neutralize our carbon footprint.”

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sudantha Liyanage stated, “We are truly pleased to partner with SAGT, a leading international container terminal operator in Sri Lanka. We have been working with SAGT since 2019 and I believe this partnership will be strengthened by this MoU. Going beyond the norms of corporate social responsibility, SAGT’s continuous support for environmental conservation efforts in Sri Lanka is to be commended.”

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