Sri Lanka Port Authority looks for Indian investor to complete half-built port

25 August 2016 (Last Updated August 25th, 2016 18:30)

The Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) is searching for a group of investors from the Indian subcontinent to complete a $400m project in the Port of Colombo.

The Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) is searching for a group of investors from the Indian subcontinent to complete a $400m project in the Port of Colombo.

Including the East Container Terminal, the half-built project has been designed to be the port’s deepest terminal.

Once completed, it will be able to handle the world’s biggest container vessels.

By including an Indian company in the investor group, the Sri Lankan Government intends to ensure smooth shipment of inter-regional cargo services.

“We are looking for an investor who should come in with a shipping operator from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.”

Currently around 75% of container traffic through Colombo is transshipment cargo from the Indian subcontinent region.

Sri Lanka Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga was quoted by AFP as saying: “We are looking for an investor who should come in with a shipping operator from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.”

Following the completion of the project, the port of Colombo aims to accommodate additional traffic of one million containers.

The port currently handles more than five million containers a year.

SLPA has already spent $80m to build 430m of the 1,200m terminal.

Ranatunga further added: “We have no money to invest, but we want a 15% stake in a joint venture to develop this mega container terminal.”

Three years back, Sri Lanka opened Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), which was built with a $500m investment from China.

Compared to CICT, the East Container Terminal will be nearly 2m deeper.

With the inclusion of an Indian firm, Sri Lanka further aims to explore the possibility of counterbalancing growing Chinese influence in Colombo's port, reported Reuters.