The Sri Lankan cabinet earlier this week approved two deals with Chinese companies in regard to the development of the Eastern Container Terminal of the  Colombo Port.

Cabinet approval had been granted on March 29, 2021 for the purchase of 14 ship-to-land cranes, 40 rail-mounted automatic gantry cranes and 30 container trucks for the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Eastern Container Terminal.

International Competitive Bids had been invited and 6 bids had been received. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Ports and Shipping to award the procurement for the purchase of 12 ship-to-land cranes and 40 automatic gantry cranes mountedon rails to the Chinese company the  Shanghai Shenuma Heavy Industries on the recommendation of the Procurement Appeals Board.

In regard to the Colombo Port Eastern Container Terminal – Phase II- Civil Works, the Cabinet had approved the development of the Eastern Container Terminal in stages as a terminal totally operated by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Accordingly, international competitive bids had been invited for Phase II of the Eastern Container Terminal at the Colombo Port. Three bids were received for this purpose. The Cabinet of Ministers then approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Ports and Shipping to award the said procurement to Access Engineering Company (a Sri Lankan company) and China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd on the recommendation of the Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee.

CHEC’s role at the ECT appears limited to civil works, according to sources familiar with the tendering process, The Hindu said. The Ministry of Port and Shipping, in its invitation for international bids, said only firms with a domestic majority ownership by Sri Lankan nationals, were eligible to participate. The ECT’s development would require construction of an additional 700-metre-long quay wall and infrastructure around it.

A top source in the Sri Lankan shipping industry said that no Indian company had participated in the bid. As far as the purchase of cranes are concerned, the source said that even Indian and US ports use Chinese cranes. On civil construction in the terminal, the source said that foreign companies with experience in the field are generally employed the world over.

“Even the Indian port owners, the Adanis, use foreign firms for construction,” the source said. However, the operation of the ports could be in the hands of local businesses or the government (as in the case of the Eastern Terminal in Colombo port).



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