Sri Lanka seeks partner for Colombo container terminal

Sri Lanka is seeking a partner for Colombo’s partly-built second deep draught container terminal that will bring new business to the port, a top official said.


“We have to find the right partner to bring new revenue,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dhammika Ranatunga said.


“Based on what I am seeing it has to be a joint effort by a major terminal operator, a shipping lien or three or four parties combining.”


He is keen to see the involvement of shipping lines that are so far not using Colombo. Formal expressions of interest followed by a request for proposals would be made to find partners.


The operation of the first deep draft terminal at Colombo’s expanded South Harbour by Chinese-owned Colombo International Container Terminals, saw a loss of business from the existing private SAGT and SLPA’s own ports, both of which have a shallower depth.


The East Terminal will allow SLPA to handle the largest container ships which can now only call at CICT.


Sri Lanka Ports Authority has already built 400 meters out of the 1200 meter East Terminal. SLPA is expecting to start operating the terminal from April 2017, whether or not a new partner is available


But to develop the terminal fully, SLPA would like to see terminal and shipping lines as partners.


Ranatunga said he wanted to prevent a tariff war as Colombo was already competitive.


New port management software is also giving SLPA a better grip on expenses. SLPA has started zero-based budgeting and had plan to boost revenues while keeping costs in check.


Ranatunga said SLPA arrested the decline in container volumes at its Jaye and Unity container terminals in the last quarter of 2015.