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Sri Lanka clears Indian investment at another Colombo Port terminal

Meera Srinivasan COLOMBO | Updated on March 02, 2021

A view of the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port, which was earlier proposed to be jointly developed with India and Japan.   -  Meera Srinivasan

West Container Terminal opened for development by India and Japan

Sri Lanka on Tuesday said it will develop the West Container Terminal at Colombo Port along with India and Japan, in a 360 degree-policy turn from a month ago, when the two partners were ejected from a 2019 tripartite agreement to jointly develop the East Container Terminal, amid port unions' resistance to “foreign involvement”.

Briefing the media on decisions taken at Monday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said approval had been granted to develop the WCT with investors nominated by India and Japan. While India has named Adani Ports, which was earlier nominated to invest in the ECT, Japan is yet to respond, the Minister said.

 

After Sri Lanka reneged on the 2019 agreement, signed by the former Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government, Colombo offered the WCT as an alternative, allowing the foreign investors to hold a higher stake.

In the ECT project agreed upon earlier, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) was to hold 51 per cent stakes. In the WCT proposal, cleared now, India and Japan will be accorded 85 per cent stake, similar to the nearby Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), where China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited holds 85 per cent stake, the authorities said.

Published on March 02, 2021

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