ECONOMYNEXT – India’s Adani group and their partners will hold 49 percent and the Sri Lanka government a majority of 51 percent in a container terminal in Colombo Port, President Gotabaya Rajajapaksa had said.
Sri Lanka’s East Container Terminal is vital to expand Colombo port which had reached capacity with the last terminal build by CM Ports of China now reaching capacity.
About a third of the East Terminal had already been built, but the balance is estimated to require an investment of around 600 million dollars.
Colombo Port trade unions had opposed bringing private investment to the port, claiming it will be ‘sold’. However port terminals are usually concessions, where ownership reverts back after a build, operate and transfer concession.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a meeting with trade unions had said the last administration had signed an agreement involving Japan and India, and current administration had re-negotiated it for the government to have majority stake in the East Terminal.
India’s Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, was expected to have been named by the Indian government as their nominee to build the terminal.
President Rajapaksa had said Adani group and other partners would hold a 49 percent stake in the terminal company. Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holding is expected partner Adani in the the terminal.
India is the main customer of Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port. President had told unions that 66 percent of transhipment business comes from India, 9 percent from Bangladesh and the balance from other countries.
India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had urged Sri Lanka to complete the agreement. India is keen to have a foothold in Colombo, which depends on Indian transhipment. China’s CM Ports already has a terminal in Colombo.
President had also told unions the next West Terminal would be given to Sri Lanka Ports Authority to develop and for them to come up with plans on how to do it. (Colombo/Jan14/2021)