Chinese company to soon finalize container port deal with Sri Lanka

June 10, Colombo: One of the largest port operators in the Asian region is to soon finalize a deal with the Sri Lankan government to build and operate a container port in Colombo.

The Hong Kong-listed port operator China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) expects the government to finalize a deal it entered with the leading blue-chip conglomerate in Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence, a report in Dow Jones Newswires said.

According to the report, the Chinese company and Aitken Spence entered into a non-binding agreement with the Sri Lanka Port Authority to design, construct, develop, manage, operate, and transfer the South Container Terminal at the Port of Colombo, with a designed capacity of 2.4 million TEUs.

Reportedly the CMHI will have an ownership of 55 percent, Aitken Spence 30 percent and the SLPA 15 percent in the new terminal.

CMHI, one of the largest port operators in the region, in partnership with Aitken Spence, was the sole bidder for the US$ 450 million project when the bids were called in July 2009.

According to SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama construction of the new container terminal is expected to start within six months after the contract is awarded. The terminal will also be built by the same Chinese contractor that built the Hambantota port complex – China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and Sino Hydro Corporation.

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