International operators eyeing Sri Lanka ports: SLPA chief

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – International port operators are interested in investing in Sri Lanka’s port infrastructure with more public-private partnerships a possibility, the head of the island’s ports authority has said.

Lakdas Panagoda, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority said they have held talks with international ports and shipping companies and the outcome was encouraging.

"The potential of Sri Lanka has been studied by major international operators and with discussions we had with them we get very encouraging news," he said.

"They are waiting to come to Sri Lanka. They want to be a part of this development. They are very happy with the way things are going in Sri Lanka at the moment."

Sri Lanka has recently built two deep water ports, one next to Colombo and the other in Hambantota, and wants to lease out terminals to private operators.

Panagoda said the SLPA wants to make all ports profitable as the newly built ports had increased its debt which need to be repaid.

"We have had discussions and we have had offers and in future every project we undertake will be at no cost to Sri Lanka," Panagoda said.

"They are quite willing to come with money, they are quite willing to give their expertise, quite willing to take part but it is to our benefit because our people will get the employment. We’ll have the controlling share," Panagoda said.

"We are looking at various options – one is public-private partnerships," he said.






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