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Sri Lanka to develop West Container Terminal with India-Japan joint venture

Sri Lanka to develop West Container Terminal with India-Japan joint venture

The government of Sri Lanka has reportedly decided to assign the West Container Terminal (WCT) of the Colombo Port to be developed as a 35-year joint venture with India’s Adani Group and its local partner John Keells Holdings PLC as well as with investment from Japan.
Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Spokesperson and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has told reporters that the decision was taken in accordance with policies outlined in the President’s manifesto ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour.’

He has reportedly acknowledged that the government of Sri Lanka had also taken into consideration the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed by the former administration with India and Japan for the East Container Terminal (ECT).
The new venture is to also include a stake for the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
Rambukwella has also denied that agreeing to foreign investment for the WCT was a deviation from the government’s policy of not giving strategic assets to other countries and insisted that this venture would be beneficial to Sri Lanka.

“When we were having discussions with trade unions and other stakeholders over the ECT we made it very clear that the WCT would be done with foreign investment. Since Sri Lanka was already bound to the pre-existing MoU signed in 2019 it was decided to get India and Japan’s involvement. We want to make it very clear that this is not a decision that is detrimental to Sri Lanka, like the handover of the Hambantota Port for 99 years,” Rambukwella has further stated.
According to the Minister, the development would have oversight by a Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee and a Project Committee and the latter has already approved the BOT plan and forwarded the same to the Indian High Commission and Japanese Embassy requesting them to nominate investors.

OSL take:

The government of Sri Lanka is committed to developing the country as a maritime hub in the South Asian region. Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country will provide a definite boost in achieving the target. The target has also opened up a host of business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s maritime industry. Like the development of container terminals, there are many opportunities in direct development programmes as well as development of supplementary infrastructure facilities. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore confidently explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka’s maritime industry.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20210311/Z_1

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