Blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC is expected to present an Expression of Interest (EOI) on East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo port, Mirror Business learns. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) recently called for EOIs for the development of the ECT. SLPA said it intended to award a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) concession for the terminal. It is believed that Aitken Spence is currently in the process of forming a consortium with a reputed foreign party to bid for the project. Interestingly, Aitken Spence-led consortiums submitted and won the two bids earlier awarded for the South Container Terminal of the Colombo port.
However, the first bid Aitken Spence placed and won in partnership with the Port of Singapore Authority was cancelled by the then government. After about a lapse of two years, another bid round was called for the same project and again Aitken Spence won the bid, that time in partnership with China Merchant Holdings
The project was awarded to the consortium, who was the sole bidder, but Aitken Spence later ended the partnership with the Chinese firm due to differences. Top local blue chip John Keells group has already expressed their interest in the ECT. The ECT in its present form has 440-metre long, 18-metre deep quay wall, a 20 hectare yard area and connected facilities developed by SLPA. There are four container terminals in the Colombo Port, with two terminals operated by SLPA and the other two developed and operated by private terminal operators on BOT concessions.