Sri Lanka mulls using container terminal space for LNG terminal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka may use the remaining section of an expanded Colombo container port complex for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said.

Chinese-owned Colombo International Container Terminal is already using the South Terminal of the expanded South Harbhour, built with a breakwater and financing from the Asian Development Bank.

State-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority, which built a part of the East Terminal, has now called proposals for private investors to complete the balance and bring in new business.

The space for the West Terminal remains.

Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga told Sri Lanka’s foreign correspondents’ association that there had been proposals to site an LNG terminal at the space, instead of a container terminal.

Each terminal could handle around 4-5 million containers and keep Sri Lanka’s leadership as a transhipment port well into the next decade, with India expected to grow strongly, generating more exports and imports.

Existing studies, backed by Japan, have recommended Muturajawela, north of the port, as the best option for an LNG terminal.

The opportunity cost of sacrificing a container terminal for LNG is not known.

There are large and powerful business interests behind LNG, and the lobby has already managed to scrap or delay a cheaper coal plant, helping drive the country into another crisis within five years, critics have warned. (Colombo/Sept06/2016)





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