India, Japan to partner Sri Lanka to develop Colombo Port’s West Terminal | Daily News

India, Japan to partner Sri Lanka to develop Colombo Port’s West Terminal

Cabinet approval has been granted to develop the West Terminal of the Colombo Port as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with Japan and India, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

Addressing the weekly Cabinet media conference held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Minister Rambukwella said Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena tabled a Cabinet paper with the proposal as per the recommendations furnished by the negotiating committee appointed to evaluate the investment  proposal by Japan and India to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo South Harbour.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has agreed to operate the ECT as a wholly-owned container terminal of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), take necessary measures to develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) of the Colombo Port on the basis of operating and developing it as a public-private partnership and return it within 35 years, together with the Government of India and the Government of Japan as the nominated investor parties and the SLPA. The decision regarding the WCT has been taken in compliance with the International Agreements signed by the Government of Sri Lanka with a view to developing the Colombo Port as a competitive port in the region.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said the proposal to hand over the ECT to India was not brought by the present Government but was a trap set by the previous Government for Sri Lanka.

He stated that during the visit of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to India on April 25, 2017, Minister Malik Samarawickrema and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the then Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the implementation of 17 Indian projects in Sri Lanka.

He said the MoU also included the development of one terminal at the Colombo Port with Indian investment. In addition, the Minister stated that this included the handing over of the Mattala Airport to India, the construction of a gas power plant and the handing over of the Trincomalee Port to India for development. An extension of this pact was signed by the then Ports and Shipping Minister on May 28, 2019 with India and Japan to jointly develop the ECT. Minister Udaya Gammanpila stated that an agreement was reached for a formula of 51% to 49%.

The Cabinet decided that the MoU came into being with that international commitment and that the ECT, strategically and most importantly, should be 100 percent owned and managed by the Ports Authority, in keeping with that international commitment.