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Friday July 12th, 2024

Sri Lanka Railways explores leasing space above stations, increasing goods trains to boost revenue

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run Sri Lanka Railways is exploring new avenues to boost its revenue including leasing spaces above some stations located in strategic locations, streamlining illegal occupancy of its lands, and increasing transport of goods and parcels, Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

Despite sharp price hike in ticket cost, the island nation’s more than a century old railway has yet to make breakeven in its operations.

The loss-making institution has already given some trains to be operated by private sector while starting new trains targeting tourists.

It has now come up with plans to lease out space above some select railway stations including Colombo Fort and other areas in Colombo to lease for private sector investors.

“We have requested proposal from both local and foreign investors to obtain upper floors for any projects at these railway stations on a lease basis while trains will be operated in the basement floor,” Gunawardana told reporters on Monday (10) at a media briefing in Colombo.

“These proposals will be opened on July 15 and that will be able to increase the revenue for railways.”

He also said all railway land users and new applicants have been asked to register with the Railways to ensure the legality of the usage.

Using the land or buildings owned by the Railway Department without a formal lease agreement is an offense punishable under the Government Land Ordinance Act.

“The commercial arm of the Railway Department is also trying to raise the revenue through increasing trains carrying goods,” he said.

In 2022, Sri Lanka Railways lost 12.4 billion rupees, up from 10.3 billion rupees in 2021 according to central bank data. In 2022 fares were hiked to half that of buses under Transport Minister Gunawardana. (Colombo/June 12/2024)

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Sri Lanka appoints new Attorney General

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed K A Parinda Ranasinghe PC as Attorney General.

He was appointed in terms of Article 61E (b) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the president’s media division said.

The new AG received the appointment from President Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday.

He fills the post after the retirement of former Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 301.70/302.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed stronger at 301.70/302.00 to the US dollar on Friday, from 302.80/303.00 to the US dollar on Thursday, dealers said, while bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.90/11.00 percent, up from 10.85/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.75/80 percent, up from 11.80/88 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.10/30 percent, up from 12.15/25 percent. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up, muted activity

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.35 percent, or 41.71 points, at 11,843; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed up 0.56 percent, or 19.20 points, at 3,454.

Turnover was low at 653 million.

“The market picked up a bit from yesterday but it’s still below the psychological 12,000 mark,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“Local retail participation drove the market predominantly.”

John Keells Holdings Plc brought in Rs109mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 194.50.

Melstacorp Plc contributed in Rs104mn to the turnover, and the share closed flat at 85.00.

Sentiment around the banking counters was mostly negative. Sampath Bank Plc closed down at 77.00, closed flat at 101.25, and Hatton National Bank Plc closed flat at 195.25.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc (up at 103.50), Bukit Darah Plc (up at 397.00), and Hayleys Plc (up at 101.00).

Foreign participation remained low as well. There was a higher net foreign outflow of 101 million.

“Foreign selling was seen on John Keells Holdings, and banking counters; Hatton National Bank Plc (down at 195.00), Pan Asia Banking Corporation Plc (down at 20.70), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc.

There was selective foreing interest on the diversified financials sector, particularly in companies that had vehicle leasing portfolios. “We think this might be due to the news of the vehicle import ban possibly ending.”

LOLC Holdings Plc closed up at 440.50, People’s Leasing and Finance Plc closed up at 12.20.

Softlogic Holdings Plc which announced the date of its rights issue, closed up at 8.50. (Colombo/Jul12/2024)

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