The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka signed an agreement with Colombo International Container Terminals Limited on September 22, 2011 to develop and operate the Colombo South Container Terminal. Mr. Eshana de Silva, Acting Chairman / Director General signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to the investors. Mr. Anura Jayasinghe, BOI - Board Member and Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama, Chairman - Sri Lanka Ports Authority were also present at the occasion.
Mr. Nelson Liu, Deputy Managing Director of China Merchants Holdings (International) Company Limited and Mr. J. M. S. Brito, Deputy Chairman / CEO of Aitken Spence PLC signed the agreement on behalf of Colombo International Container Terminals Limited.
The development of the Colombo South Harbour is being implemented under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision of making Sri Lanka a shipping hub in the Asian region. The agreement for one of the largest Foreign Direct Investments will strengthen Colombo's status as the premier shipping hub of South Asia into the 21st century. Construction of the container terminal will commence in December this year.
The project is an investment of US $ 500 million funded by the Hong Kong-based China Merchants Holding (International) Company Limited, Aitken Spence PLC and Sri Lanka Port Authority with equity partnership of 55%, 30% and 15% respectively. The project is expected to provide direct employment opportunities for over 1000 and will be implemented over two phases.
Colombo’s existing terminals currently account for the island’s entire cargo volume. The government forecasts rising cargo levels will enable transportation, including ports, to make up 40 percent of gross domestic product by 2020. Deeper berths, new terminals and increased efficiency will enable larger ships to dock and transfer cargo more quickly, enabling Colombo to maintain its status as a premier shipping hub.
With the implementation of this container terminal development project, Sri Lanka will gain economic benefits such as increased container handling capacity of the port, accommodation for the latest generation of large container ships, guarantee fast turnaround of vessels and training of Sri Lankan staff on latest technology. This will also increase the inflow of foreign exchange to the country from container services.
The BOI has granted Strategic Development status to the project, working in close collaboration with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.