Confirming Mirror Business exclusive story last week, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) yesterday said the envisaged partnership with Japan and India to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) will help Port of Colombo to continue with its growth momentum and further improve its position.
The three governments are expected to sign a Memorandum Of Cooperation (MOC) over ECT, through which SLPA asserted the 100 percent ECT ownership will be retained with Sri Lanka.
According to a SLPA statement issued to media yesterday, a Terminal Operations Company (TOC) conducting all ETC operations will be jointly owned—Sri Lanka retaining 51 percent and the joint venture partners purchasing 49 percent stake.
SLPA pointed out it owns 15 percent each in the other two privately-run terminal operators at Port of Colombo—South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT) and Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT).
“The 51 percent stake is also one of the best in SLPA joint ownership endeavors. SLPA’s majority ownership in the new TOC represents a significant step in prioritizing national interests,” the SLPA statement said.
Meanwhile, SLPA said the proposed Japanese loan to develop the ECT “carries one of the best loan terms Sri Lanka has obtained.”
“However, given that the loan terms are awaiting formalization, it would be premature for SLPA to comment.”
Citing its reasons to sign the envisaged MOC to develop the ECT, SLPA said global cargo trade is an extremely competitive, fast-paced, rapidly evolving industry that requires ports be timely in their capacity expansion, execution and service levels.
“The envisaged MOC is significant in ensuring that Colombo Port delivers on these goals in an agile manner,” SLPA said.
Currently, Port of Colombo is ranked 11th in connectivity (Drewery, 2018) and 22nd among global ports (Alphaliner, 2018).