Chinese firm gets contract to develop Colombo Port’s controversial eastern container terminal

A state-run Chinese language agency has clinched the contract to develop the Colombo Port’s japanese container terminal, the Sri Lankan authorities introduced on Wednesday, months after it scrapped a tripartite take care of India and Japan to construct the deep-sea container port.

China is among the greatest buyers in varied infrastructure tasks in Sri Lanka. However there was criticism, each regionally and internationally, and rising considerations that China has lured Sri Lanka right into a debt lure.

The island nation in 2017 handed over the strategically essential Hambantota port to a state-run Chinese language agency for a 99-year lease as a debt swap amounting to USD 1.2 billion.

The China Harbour Engineering Firm has clinched the contract to develop the Colombo Port’s japanese container terminal (ECT) in phases, in accordance with a Cupboard be aware.

The Cupboard has authorized the proposal made by the ports and delivery minister to select the Chinese language agency in a aggressive bidding course of, it mentioned, with out mentioning how a lot the deal was price.

The ECT growth challenge had turn into a controversial political subject in Lanka with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration reneging a beforehand entered trilateral settlement with India and Japan to develop the ECT.

The port commerce unions led by the ruling SLPP associates pressed for ditching of the India-Japan deal, claiming that the proposed take care of India’s Adani Group was a sell-out of the profitable ECT. They demanded that the ECT ought to run underneath the government-owned Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

The SLPA had signed a memorandum of cooperation in Might 2019 with India and Japan to develop the ECT throughout the earlier Sirisena authorities.

The Colombo port commerce unions opposed the proposal of buyers from India and Japan shopping for 49 per cent stake within the ECT. They demanded the ECT to stay 100 per cent owned by the SLPA versus the 51 per cent.

President Rajapaksa had declared that he needed the India-Japan deal on the ECT to go forward. Nevertheless, after weeks-long protests by commerce unions, the federal government cancelled the India-Japan ECT deal in February this yr.

Each India and Japan had formally expressed disappointment over Colombo’s again monitoring on the ECT.

Subsequently, Adani Group in September sealed a take care of SLPA to develop and run the strategic Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal (WCT). Because the first-ever Indian port operator in Sri Lanka, Adani Group can have a 51 per cent stake in WCT.

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