Newly-expanded Colombo Port to make Sri Lanka a competitive shipping hub: ADB

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 00:22 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Asian Development Bank said yesterday that the newly-expanded Colombo Port will allow Sri Lanka to regain its role as a leading South Asia trans-shipment hub. President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the port alongside Xiaoyu Zhao, Vice-President at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). With a new breakwater, deeper basin, and the first of three modern new terminals now open, Colombo Port can accept the latest generation of 18,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) container ships and has facilities to send goods faster and more cost efficiently to other ports in the region. “The Colombo Port is extremely well located to serve the Indian subcontinent region. The enhanced deepwater facilities at Colombo Port will strengthen its strategic position on the key Asia-Europe shipping route, and would significantly boost regional trade,” said Zhao. The project was developed on a public-private partnership basis. The ADB provided a $300 million loan for the construction of breakwater infrastructure. With Government counterpart funding of $100 million, this was successfully completed by the public sector. The South Container Terminal, the first of three container terminals to be accommodated on the breakwater, is being implemented with about $ 500 million of private sector investment from the Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) – a joint venture established between China Merchant Holdings International and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The first 400 meters of container operations began operations yesterday, providing additional capacity of 0.8 million TEUs per annum. The East and West Container Terminals are currently in planning stages. When fully opened, the three terminals will add a combined container handling capacity of 7.2 million TEUs to the existing port operations. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2012, ADB assistance totalled $21.6 billion, including co-financing of $8.3 billion.