Fifth container terminal to India Colombo Port development
Posted on December 23rd, 2016


In the wake of a simmering controversy over China Merchant Port Holdings being given an 80 per cent stake in the Hambantota port, a fresh dispute is brewing at the Colombo Port regarding a move to involve India in the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT).

The SLPA has announced that it was planning to award the ECT on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis. Well informed sources told The Island that the government was planning to privatise the ECT.

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Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) at Maradana, Purawesi Balaya spokesperson Saman Ratnapriya claimed that they had been briefed by port workers of the move.

The ECT in its present form has 440-metre long breakwater and an 18-metre approach depth, a 20 hectare yard area and connected facilities developed by the SLPA.

Ratnapriya said that the SLPA had obtained USD 350 mn loan from the Asian Development Bank for the project.

The trade union activist urged the government to explore ways and means of retaining its ownership while managing the facility with suitable partner. According to Ratnapriya handing over the terminal to a private party wouldn’t help Sri Lanka’s efforts to raise state revenue.

The SLPA has estimated that acquisition of gantry cranes for the ECT would cost USD 68 mn. Ratnapriya said that it would be a grave mistake on the part of the government to give up the ECT.

There are four container terminals in the Colombo Port, with two terminals (Jaya and Unity) operated by SLPA and the other two (SAGT and Chinese CICT) developed and operated by private terminal operators on BOT concessions.

China Merchant Port Holdings which owned 85 per cent of CICT recently secured 80 per cent share of the Hambantota port in accordance with 99-year lease. While SAGT or South Asia Gateway Terminals, a consortium of local and international industry players reached agreement with Sri Lanka in September 1999 on a 30-year BOT operation, whereas CICT operated on a 35-year BOT project.

One Response to “Fifth container terminal to India Colombo Port development”

  1. aloy Says:

    We shouldn’t hand over family silver to outsiders. As we are militarily weak they will push us out and own it at the end. Hand over both ECT and Hambanthota to a company like John Keels which are efficiently run local entities. In any case not more than for a 35 year period. Perhaps they can even syndicate loans to pay back the Chinese loans. We must not get foreigners involved as they will create rifts among local communities and set minorities against the majority and ultimately put them into second class status. This was what all colonial powers did in our history.

    Keep in mind what happened in Malaysia also. They too had a bloody civil war against mainly Chinese in 60s. They allowed them to come in and settle during the Chinese revolution on sympathetic grounds. Now they are a strong community the Malays fear. Probably that is the reason they cannot take action against corrupt Malay rulers. They know if the majority is divided the minorities takeover.

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