Japanese delegation in talks on East Container Terminal working group | Daily News


Japanese delegation in talks on East Container Terminal working group

A 20-member Japanese group is currently in Sri Lanka to discuss and work on a ‘joint working group’ to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) located in the Colombo South Port.

“The group is currently in discussion to determine what the working group should look like,” Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Kavan Ratnayaka said.

Sri Lanka, Japan and India in May jointly signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to launch the development of the ECT project.

The three governments will work out details based on the MOC at joint working group meetings, and advance their cooperation towards early commencement of work and operation of the ECT.

Ratnayaka said, SLPA retains 100% ownership of ECT. The Terminal Operations Company (TOC) conducting all East Container Terminal operations is jointly owned; Sri Lanka retains a 51% stake, and the joint venture partners to purchase a 49% stake.

The envisaged Japanese loan carries one of the best loan terms Sri Lanka has obtained. The 51% stake is also one of the best in SLPA joint ownership endeavors. SLPA’s majority ownership in the new TOC represents a significant step in prioritizing National Interests, he told a meeting held at the SLPA yesterday.

Explaining the rationale behind the ECT project and the model they are currently working on, Ratnayaka said it is vital to retain the Colombo’s dominant position as a hub port in the region with modern expansion programs.

The National Port Master Plan funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says Colombo port is a leader in the Indian Ocean as a transshipment hub port and should stay competitive with other national and international transshipment ports. To achieve this, focus should be on operational

excellence on the marine services, cargo handling service, auxiliary functions and on international traffic.

Therefore, port plans are adjusted and future capacity is planned for in order to stay ahead of demand. Innovations and new technologies will support this development, according to the Master Plan. To match the future demands and requirements, Ratnayaka said, the Port complex is getting a facelift soon and new spaces will be created for offices and special job fields with the setting up of a maritime facilitation centre in the premises. 

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