Sri Lanka is seeking a partner from the Indian subcontinent to develop a port designed to be its deepest and accommodate the world’s largest container vessels, Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said Thursday.
The Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) is looking for a foreign investor with about $400 million to complete the half-built East Container Terminal at the Colombo port, Ranatunga said.
“We are looking for an investor who should come in with a shipping operator from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh,” the minister told reporters in Colombo.
He said the investor should partner a shipping line that could guarantee additional traffic of one million containers through the port of Colombo, which currently handles over five million containers a year.
The Sri Lankan government is keen to involve a company from the Indian subcontinent because about 75 percent of container traffic through Colombo is trans-shipment cargo from the region, the minister said.
He said the SLPA had spent $80 million to build 430 metres of a 1,200 metre-terminal which he hopes to complete with foreign capital.
“We have no money to invest, but we want a 15 percent stake in a joint venture to develop this mega container terminal,” he added.
The project comes three years after the opening of the $500 million Chinese-built Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), which made Colombo the only mega port between Dubai and Singapore. -AFP