Fresh Start

May 08, 2008 (LBO) – The Asian Development Bank has agreed to change conditions on a loan to the Sri Lankan government to build a new deep-water harbour next to Colombo port, dredging on which is already underway, ADB and government officials said. These include Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping line, which has a stake in South Asia Gateway Terminals after it acquired parts of the P&O group, and Dubai Ports World, the rapidly expanding Middle Eastern port operator. Fresh tenders are to be called to build and operate the new port’s first container terminal known as the south terminal after the original bids were cancelled last year amid much controversy.

ADB Country Director Richard Vokes said the bank has agreed to a government request to amend the loan agreement to enable the project’s harbour infrastructure works, including a new breakwater, to proceed.

“Originally, for the loan agreement to become effective, the government had to issue a letter of invitation for the negotiation of the Concession Agreement to the selected private operator for the South Terminal,” he said.

“Under the new agreement, the loan now will become effective immediately, while the government has agreed to award the terminal concession within 18 months aft