Mon. Oct 26th, 2020

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Delivering and ports market experts have really raised concerns over the approaching danger of losing Colombo Port’s transhipment center status in the region due to the hold-up in developing its East Container Terminal (ECT).

They have actually also signaled that the port itself is at hazard and postured a substantial threat of losing cargo volumes. The hold-up in releasing operations of the ECT has activated the federal government a loss of around Rs. 50 billion per year.As found out by The Sunday Morning, the Federal government is yet to take a choice on the improvement of the ECT along with whether it must be established under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) or handed over to India according to the arrangements reached by the previous Government.Furthermore, the Federal government is also yet to go over the arrangements reached in between India and Sri Lanka under the management of previous President Maithripala Sirisena on the advancement of the terminal.Even if the thumbs-up is provided to develop the ECT now, it

will take a minimum of another three years to end up the building and building work and run in its full capability, it is discovered. Because of that, subject specialists cautioned that more holding off the launch of the development activities will trigger the government a loss of numerous rupees per day.Still waiting on pledges In such a backdrop, the Joint Trade Union Collective of the Colombo Port

urged the Federal government to please the promise it made throughout the election that the terminal would not be turned over to India and will be taken under the control of the SLPA.Speaking to The Sunday Early Morning, All Ceylon General Ports Staff Members ‘Union( ACGPWU )Secretary Chandrasiri Mahagamage mentioned that at a meeting accepted the Joint Trade Unions Collective last month, they had actually decided to remind the Minister of Ports and Shipping and the President of the warranties they made, recommending them to take instantaneous action to develop the ECT and begin operations.They had actually also raised problems over the hold-up in finishing terminal preparation, which must have been done by the authority for starting company operations of the ECT a variety of months back, even prior to the basic election.The operation preparation of the terminal ought to be completed in order to start business operations of the terminal, a subject which has actually just recently emerged due to the loading of gantry cranes bought for the Jaya Container Terminal

JCT which is still under construction.The trade unions connected to the SLPA had actually just recently held a business action requiring the Prime Minister or President to use an assurance that the ECT will not be turned over to India. Nonetheless, according to the spoken guarantee offered by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, any effort to legalise the Memorandum of Co-operation( MoC) signed between India, Sri Lanka, and Japan would not be allowed.Colombo Port and ECT The Colombo Port, primarily a container port, is a rapidly growing maritime center in the South Asian area and is the port linking freight stemming from and moiraied to Europe, East and South Asia, the Persian Gulf, and East Africa.The initial port had a harbour

place of 184 hectares. In

2008, the South Harbour location( 285 hectares) was established to accommodate deep-water berths and the latest generation of mainline vessels. The harbour is served by a two-way channel with an initial depth of 20 m and a

width of 570 m.In addition to the container terminals in the preliminary port area, the SLPA planned to establish 3 terminals– each having a capacity of 2.4 million twenty-foot comparable system( TEU)– in the South Harbour, the very first of which was developed and functions on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis by Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd. (CICT) The Colombo Port currently consists of three primary parts, amongst which is the JCT that comes from the SLPA. The South Asia Gateway Terminals( SAGT) is owned by Sri Lanka and worldwide entities. A majority of the shareholding in the CICT is owned by China. This terminal lies close by to Colombo Port City. As a result,

a terminal of enough capability for the SLPA to dock big ships does not exist within the Colombo Port at present.Against such a background, the ECT is being established to accommodate big ships and the SLPA began development at the ECT with funds gotten from a state bank.According to the SLPA, the Colombo Port Expansion Job is being carried out in an area including about 600 hectares. This will have 3 terminals: South Container Terminal( SCT), ECT, and West Container Terminal (WCT ), each with

a 1,200 m length and equipped with centers to accommodate three berths. The SCT commenced operations in 2013 under a public personal partnership (PPP) under the BOT

basis with CICT and the SLPA. The CICT is dealt with by China Merchants Ports Holdings Co. Ltd.The ECT, executed by the Mahinda Rajapaksa Federal Government under the Colombo Port Expansion Job, is the second largest deep-water task of the port. In this, 400 m of the prepared 1,200 m-long terminal was finished in 2015. At present, the ended up 400 m stretch of the ECT is used by the SLPA to handle break-bulk cargo.Awaiting committee report Due to the mounting pressure put by the ports unions previously this year, the President selected a five-member committee including the secretaries of the Ministries of Power, Energy, Ports and Shipping, Roads, and Highways together with Secretary to the Ministry of Industrial Export and Investment Promo M.P.U.D. Mapa Pathirana

and SLPA Chairman General( Retd.) Daya Ratnayake.The committee is designated to look into matters with regard to the procurement process and the hold-up in the advancement of the ECT prior to importing equipment, examine the agreements the SLPA has participated in with foreign nations, and look for the liable people for the activities explained above. In addition, the committee was asked for to send propositions for the development of the ECT.The committee was to prepare a report within 45 days from 3 July.Then Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Delivering M.M.P.K. Mayadunne told The Sunday Early morning in August that the last report of the committee would be turned over on 15 August.Nevertheless, there is no trace of the committee report at present, as the report is yet to be made public.Govt. prompted to finish structure As found out by The Sunday Morning, the civil work of the ECT was ended up around 5 years ago while the electrical work was ended up 8 months ago.The planning of the operations at the ECT was yet to be begun by the SLPA, even though the necessary funds had actually been appointed for the center of the planning system for the ECT from the yearly budget.The hold-up in releasing the planning work of the terminal raised doubts amongst the unions, as they were concerned whether

there was any effort to turn over the development of ECT to India.Last year, the SLPA signed the joint MoC to develop

the ECT at the Colombo Port. The SLPA stated that the brand-new collaboration would assist the port tocontinue its advancement and more improve its competitiveness by opening itself to the world.According to the authority, the SLPA keeps total ownership of

the ECT, and a business called Terminal Operations Service (TOC) would be established where Sri Lanka would preserve 51 %of shares while the balance will be purchased by joint undertaking partners.The MoC was reached soon after China was offered a handling equity stake and a 99-year lease on the Hambantota Port, and concerns have actually been raised regarding whether there is a suspicion that this offer is also an outcome of escalating geopolitical competitors in between local powers.During the early phases of the settlements, the unions have threatened to incapacitate the operations of the Colombo Port, as their primary objection is that Sri Lanka would be turning over necessary port facilities to foreign nations.Despite the MoC being reached between Japan, India, and Sri Lanka in 2015, the problem was swept under the carpet with in 2015’s governmental election with no more development up until last month’s gantry crane dumping concern popped up.When called by The Sunday Early Morning, SLPA Bonus General Manager Upul Jayatissa said the SLPA had actually not yet received any upgrade on the ECT from the Government as yet.However, Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Providing U.D.C. Jayalal notified The Sunday Morning that the Ministry had really not yet taken any option with regard to the ECT.When asked whether the Federal government or the Ministry is holding discussions concerning the ECT, he stated that no conversations are continuous within the Government.Meanwhile, all efforts made by The Sunday Early morning to get in touch with SLPA Chairman Gen. Ratnayake and Minister of Ports and Delivering Rohitha Abeygunawardena were futile. Source

By Editor

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