A state-run Chinese agency has clinched the contract to develop the Colombo Port’s japanese container terminal, the Sri Lankan authorities introduced on Wednesday, months after it scrapped a tripartite cope with India and Japan to construct the deep-sea container port.
China is likely one of the largest buyers in varied infrastructure tasks in Sri Lanka. But there was criticism, each domestically and internationally, and rising considerations that China has lured Sri Lanka right into a debt lure.
The island nation in 2017 handed over the strategically necessary Hambantota port to a state-run Chinese agency for a 99-year lease as a debt swap amounting to USD 1.2 billion.
The China Harbour Engineering Company has clinched the contract to develop the Colombo Port’s japanese container terminal (ECT) in phases, in keeping with a Cabinet notice.
The Cabinet has accepted the proposal made by the ports and delivery minister to choose the Chinese agency in a aggressive bidding course of, it stated, with out mentioning how a lot the deal was value.
The ECT growth undertaking had develop into a controversial political problem in Lanka with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration reneging a beforehand entered trilateral settlement with India and Japan to develop the ECT.
The port commerce unions led by the ruling SLPP associates pressed for ditching of the India-Japan deal, claiming that the proposed cope with India’s Adani Group was a sell-out of the profitable ECT. They demanded that the ECT ought to run underneath the government-owned Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
The SLPA had signed a memorandum of cooperation in May 2019 with India and Japan to develop the ECT in the course of the earlier Sirisena authorities.
The Colombo port commerce unions opposed the proposal of buyers from India and Japan shopping for 49 per cent stake within the ECT. They demanded the ECT to stay 100 per cent owned by the SLPA versus the 51 per cent.
President Rajapaksa had declared that he needed the India-Japan deal on the ECT to go forward. However, after weeks-long protests by commerce unions, the federal government cancelled the India-Japan ECT deal in February this yr.
Both India and Japan had formally expressed disappointment over Colombo’s again monitoring on the ECT.
Subsequently, Adani Group in September sealed a cope with SLPA to develop and run the strategic Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal (WCT). As the first-ever Indian port operator in Sri Lanka, Adani Group can have a 51 per cent stake in WCT.