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Aitken Spence
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Construction of new port terminal awaits Cabinet nod

Daily News

The Aitken Spence conglomerate is awaiting Cabinet approval to construct the proposed container terminal in the Colombo South port.

The company seems to be the highest bidder to build and operate the new container terminal.

Deputy Chairman and CEO Aitken Spence J. M. S. Brito told the Daily News the company bid for the project in alliance/joint venture with Port of Singapore Authority (PSA Corp) which runs the Port in Singapore. This is the highest bid in the list which amounts to US $ 183 million.

According to Brito, 70 per cent is owned by Aitken Spence and the balance 30 per cent is owned by PSA Corp in this joint venture to build the port.

He said the bid bond to build the breakwater system in the Colombo South Port is expected to finish early December. Two companies, Hyundai and China Harbour and once they complete the project they could commence work.

Brito said this is a mega project which has a capacity of 2.4 million TEUs that would help to accommodate the massive container traffic without a problem by 2010.

He said that this is an urgent requirement for Sri Lanka to expedite this project, if not the container traffic will be grabbed by other emerging ports in the region by 2010.

The existing two container terminals will not be able to cope with the increasing traffic demand in the future, he said.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority officials said Aitken Spence/PSA consortium and an independent bid by Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) appeared to be the front-runners.

In addition, Hayleys and Carson Cumberbatch in alliance with the CMA-CGM shipping line and John Keells Holdings had also bid in partnership with South Asia Gateway Terminals which runs Colombo port”s privatised container terminal.

SLPA Officials said a detailed analysis of the bids was required before identifying the winner as the amount of profit it would generate for the port would have to be calculated.

Port officials said earlier that cash flow generation would be a key factor in evaluating the bids as the profit from the first terminal in the new South Port of Colombo is required to fund other port sector projects.