Sri Lanka mulls canal boat service with private partner for Colombo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will study the feasibility of starting a boat service on the canals and the Kelani River in the capital Colombo to boost transport with a private partner, the state information office said.

The cabinet of ministers had given the go ahead for the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry to study inland water transport and identify a private partner to run a boat service.

Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo has a network of canals, which were connected and made suitable for boat transport during Dutch rule.

The Megapolis Ministry had said that three routes could be established between Colombo East-West and North-South by canals and the sea in Wellawatta – Battaramulla (through canals), Fort-Union Place (across Beira Lake), and Mattakkuliya – Hanwella (through the Kelani river).

In Bangkok, Thailand, the government has granted a concession to Chao Phraya Express Boat Co., Ltd. (CPEX) to run a transport service on the Chao Phraya River.

Chao Phraya express boats can carry up to 200 sitting and standing passengers. About 35,000 passengers a day and 3.5 million passengers are carried each year.

With 65 boats, the main route has boats calling every 10 to 20 minutes, much like a light rail transit system, avoiding traffic jams and delays.

Bangkok also has the perhaps the worlds only mass rapid transit system (MRT), where both civil works and rolling stock were both built by private capital. Advertising forms a large portion of the revenue and profits of the BTS system.

One of the routes identified in Sri Lanka also involves the sea. (Colombo/Sept08/2016)





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