The Sri Lankan Minister of Ports and Shipping
Sagala Ratnayaka at a recent inspection tour of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority ,
emphasized the importance of expanding Colombo Port’s capacity to ensure Port’s
In a recent statement the Sri Lanka Ports
Authority (SLPA) 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.
3 countries sign MoC, ECT will remain with Sri Lanka
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.
A Terminal Operations Company (TOC) is said to be
formed to conduct ETC operations which will be jointly owned where Sri Lanka
will retain 51 percent and the joint venture partners will purchase 49 percent
SLPA going ahead to speed up the
operationalization of ECT is indeed heartening news to the maritime industry
stakeholders in Sri Lanka. CASA had been stressing the need of adding capacity
at a brisk pace in order to retain Sri Lanka’s position as the best
connectivity port in South Asia.
Port of Colombo recorded a 13.5 per cent growth
for the year 2018 over the same period of the previous year, reaching 22nd from
the position of 23rd amongst global container ports, according to Alphaliner
time Colombo Port topped global maritime ranking
It is also a significant achievement as it is the
first time in history that the Port of Colombo has topped a global maritime
ranking. With this growth, the Port of Colombo has leapt ahead many other
Asian, Middle Eastern and European Ports.
If this growth momentum continues we can assume
that all the terminals in Colombo will reach full capacity and therefore adding
capacity at a brisk pace is the most crucial factor for Sri Lanka to retain its
position as the best connectivity port in South Asia.
Immediate measures should therefore be taken to
operationalize the East Container Terminal (ECT) which is designed as a deep
water terminal. It is disappointing that no strategic decisions pertaining to
the expansion of the Colombo Port’s capacity was made during the last few years
despite the industry highlighting the urgency.
The proposed arrangement made by SLPA is in
indeed encouraging as the Ports Authority will retain control over the East
Container Terminal whilst the foreign investment will expedite the
operationalization of the terminal.
deep water terminal, must for Colombo to face the regional competitors
A second deep water terminal is a must for
Colombo as we are facing the risk of losing cargo for regional competitors. As
Sri Lanka gears up to become a regional hub, many other countries are turning
to port development to accommodate growing volumes.
India, for instance, has launched the Sagarmala
initiative, a 126 billion US dollar Port-led development project designed to
address India’s capacity constraints. Therefore this joint venture will bring
the much needed investment for ECT whilst retaining the control with the state
owned SLPA promoting the national interest of Sri Lanka.