60-pct foreign ownership in Sri Lanka shipping, Maersk keen on East Terminal
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will raise foreign ownership in ship agencies to 60 percent in the first stage of liberalisation with officials from Maersk coming for talks soon on bidding for a new port terminal, the investment promotion agency said.
Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama has told European Union officials that Sri Lanka was going ahead with liberalising the shipping sector, a Board of Investment statement said.
“In the first stage foreigners will be permitted to own 60 percent of the shipping companies,” it said.
“This was very important to build up confidence in the European Union for Sri Lanka.”
It also would help significantly in attracting Foreign Direct Investment inflows to the country.
The government has said it plans to lift the 40 percent foreign ownership restriction on shipping agencies.
The BOI said a number of important decisions were taken the 8th EU-Sri Lanka investor dialogue where the liberalisation of the shipping sector was discussed.
“It was decided by the Minister that a high-level meeting with the EU side and the Minister of Ports Shipping, Finance and International and representatives of Maersk would discuss the bidding process for the East Terminal.
”The EU would monitor the implementation of the decision by Sri Lanka to allow 60 percent ownership of shipping lines in Sri Lanka.”
Work on completing the East Terminal of the new Colombo South Harbour has been stalled for several years with the shipping industry warning that it was urgently needed as the port was nearing full capacity.
(COLOMBO, March 15, 2019-SB)