Container Corporation of India (Concor) has formed a consortium with APM Terminals B.V., John Keells Holdings and Maersk Line to bid for the development of East Container Terminal in Colombo. The total project value is likely to be about$550-600 million.

Currently, the Colombo Port has four container terminals. In 2008, a new harbour basin, the Colombo South Harbour was developed to accommodate deep draft vessels and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) decided to develop four new terminals, each with a capacity of 2.4 million TEU’s (twenty-foot container equivalent unit - a measure used in container shipping) to cater to increasing demand.

The concession for the first terminal was awarded to China Merchant Holdings in 2012 and became fully operational in 2015 as Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT).

SLPA invited Expressions of Interest for pre-qualification to bid for the Development of East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Port of Colombo on a BOT basis in June.

As part of the bid conditions, SLPA included a clause whereby weightage will be given to a consortium, which includes a strategic investor from the region, taking into account 70 per cent of the throughput of the Port of Colombo is sub-continental traffic.

This move is being seen by many in the industry as a move to give an Indian company an opportunity to bid for the project after the earlier contract was awarded to a Chinese entity.

In this case, Concor will have no less than a 20 per cent shareholding in the consortium. ECT is designed as a deep water container terminal to have a 1,200 m of linear quay wall comprising three 400 m berths, an alongside draft of -18 meters and a minimum throughput capacity of 2.4 million TEU.

Development of the ECT will be implemented as a public-private partnership in which SLPA will hold a 15 per cent stake.

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