A broad discourse on the East Container Terminal at present

A broad discourse on the East Container Terminal at present

A broad discourse on the East Container Terminal at present

Written by Tharusha Kumarasinghe

14 Jan, 2021 | 8:50 pm

Colombo (News 1st): A broad discourse has arisen on moves to handover India’s Adani Group of Companies with a 49 percent stake in the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port that is considered to be a key economic hub of Sri Lanka.

During yesterday’s meeting involving the President and trade union representatives, it was revealed that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority will hold a 51 percent stake while 49 percent will be open for investors including the Adani Group of Companies.

The East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port has a depth of 18 metres and has been constructed up to a length of approximately 400 metres.

Operations at the Terminal commenced after gantry cranes were set-up at the site following a massive protest carried out by trade unions last year.

The East Container Terminal is of economic significance for Sri Lanka due to its strategic position in the South Asian region.

Trade union representatives who appeared on a programme on News 1st – TV 1 Channel, insisted that the East Container Terminal can be developed as a national resource.

Niroshan Gorakanage who is the General Secretary of the All Ceylon General Port Employees Union said that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority generated 263 million US dollars as revenue through ports in 2019.

However, he pointed out, since the commencement of projects, be it privatization or any other term that is used to describe these activities, they had received only 38 million US dollars through royalties, and tax revenue.

He said while 263 million US dollars had been generated by single-handedly managing the Jaya Container Terminal, they had only generated 38 million US dollars with the involvement of other parties.

The General Secretary of Ports, Commercial Industries and Progressive Workers Union – Shyamal Sumanarathna said that they have the required vision and that they only need the required manpower to handle operations.

According to him, operations have commenced on the 27th of October 2020 and they engaged in a massive struggle and managed to handle 30 vessels until the 1st of January 2021.

He said that the revenue that was generated through the M.C.C. Orient vessel alone is at 330 million.

During the program, he said that, if this is allowed to continue they can even settle debt with a 100 percent interest rate.

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Meanwhile, appearing on the Dawasa Program on Sirasa TV this evening, Chairman – Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Retired General Daya Rathnayake said that, the Cabinet has appointed two committees regarding the development of the ECT.

“There is a project committee and there is a negotiating committee. The project committee is responsible for studying the project and coming up with a report. Then that report will be given to the negotiating committee. Then we will hold discussions with the relevant private entities and local entities and submit our recommendations to the Cabinet. Only thereafter the Cabinet will make a decision. Nobody has made a decision as of yet.” said Retired General Daya Rathnayake.

When queried whether there is any possibility of a non-state private company poking their fingers into the potion Sri Lanka owns of the Terminal, Retired General Daya Rathnayake said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had said that the Government will not give this 51 percent to anyone else.

Retired General Daya Rathnayake said, that portion is owned by the Government and any other entity can come and invest in the remaining 49 percent.

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