India, Japan mull JV with Colombo to counter China's growing influence
THE Sri Lankan authorities are to meet to ratify a deal with India and Japan for the operation and maintenance of the much-delayed East Container Terminal (ECT) at Colombo?s deep water South Harbour, reports Colchester's Seatrade Maritime News
THE Sri Lankan authorities are to meet to ratify a deal with India and Japan for the operation and maintenance of the much-delayed East Container Terminal (ECT) at Colombo?s deep water South Harbour, reports Colchester's Seatrade Maritime News.
Sri Lanka will hold 51 per cent in the 2.4 million TEU capacity greenfield terminal, the residual portion of the stake will be shared between India and Japan in a percentage yet to be finalised.
The move is as an effort to counter-balance the 15,000 acres of land around the port controlled by Chinese interests on a 99-year lease.
Sri Lanka had fallen into debt with the Chinese to build infrastructure, roads, airports and city skyscrapers; and have not raised the funds to repay them.
The current move to bring India into the picture is also seen as a desire on Sri Lanka?s part to reduce the almost overpowering influence of the Chinese in Colombo, where they operate one of the three terminals in South Harbour.
The harbour, which has a draught of 18.5 metres and can accommodate even the largest modern containerships, was constructed in a U-shape to accommodate three terminals each with a container handling capacity of 2.4 million TEU.
Only one of the three terminals, the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), owned by China Merchant Holdings, is in operation, and contributes a substantial portion of Colombo?s container throughput, which is made up of 70 per cent transshipment cargo intended for India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority holds 15 per cent.
Colombo crossed the seven million TEU mark in 2018, with CICT contributing 2.6 million TEU the state-run Jaya Container Terminal producing a throughput of 2.3 million TEU, and the privately owned South Asia Gateway Terminals handling 2.1 million TEU.