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APSEZ to develop West Container Terminal at Colombo Port

Wednesday, 03 Mar 2021
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Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) will develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) at Colombo Port after the Sri Lankan Cabinet  approved the plan through a tripartite understanding with India and Japan.

WCT will have 1,400 mtr quay wall, water depth of 20 mtr, terminal area of about 64 ha with an annual capacity of 2.6 million TEUs.

India and Japan will jointly own 85 percent stake in the planned WCT, on the lines of the Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), in which China’s state-run China Merchants Port Holdings Company holds 85 percent stake and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) holding the balance.

WCT, the fifth container terminal at Colombo Port, is being offered to India and Japan after the Sri Lankan Cabinet on 1 February 2021 scrapped a tripartite memorandum of cooperation (MoC) signed in May 2019 with the two nations to jointly develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) at Colombo Port.

The move followed strong resistance from the port unions to allow the Indo-Japan partnership to develop ECT.

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Ports and Shipping also proposed to develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) in parallel with the ECT as a public private partnership (PPP) project under BOT basis for 35 years by a joint venture (JV) comprising SLPA and nominees of the government of India and Japan based on the framework used in developing CICT.

The CICT framework included BOT tenure of 35 years, one-time upfront payment, an annual payment of land lease and royalty based on the containers handled at the terminal.

By holding 85 percent stake, WCT will not be treated as a government-owned company under Sri Lankan law and hence not subjected to the auditor general of Sri Lanka, not answerable to Parliament of the island nation and will not have to follow the public procurement procedures of the government.

This will give the Indo-Japan team operational flexibility to operate commercially in line with other private operators.

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