Sri Lanka signs port deal with India and Japan

Vastavam web: Sri Lanka has signed a deal with India and Japan to develop a deep-sea container terminal here amid increasing forays by China which has taken a strategic port on a 99-year lease that has worried New Delhi. The three countries will jointly build the East Container Terminal at the Port of Colombo.

High Commissioner of India to Colombo Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama and Sri Lankan Minister of Ports & Shipping and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in Colombo on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka’s Port Authority (SLPA) said that around 70 per cent of Colombo Port’s transshipment business is India related while Japan had cooperated since the 1980s to develop the port’s container terminals.

SLPA retains 100 per cent ownership of the East Container Terminal. The Terminal Operations Company (TOC) conducting all East Container Terminal operations is jointly owned; Sri Lanka retains a 51 per cent stake, and the joint venture partners purchase a 49 per cent stake.

“As a hub of the Indian ocean, the development of Sri Lanka and openness of its ports are of great importance. Colombo port is the leading port in region. This joint project reflects the long standing goodwill and cooperation among the three countries,” the SLPA said.