Harbour Moves

Apr 21, 2010 (LBO) – Dredging and breakwater construction on a new harbour being built next to Sri Lanka’s Colombo port is on schedule, said a senior official of the Asian Development Bank which is funding the work. But talks on a contract to design and build the new deep-water port’s first container terminal were still on, said the ADB’s Sri Lanka country director Richard Vokes said.

“On the breakwater construction, I’m encouraged by what I see,” he told a news conference.
“It’s on schedule now, after some delays last year.”

The infrastructure work is being done by South Korea’s Hyundai and the new port is needed to cater to bigger ships being deployed on trade routes and retain Colombo’s position as south Asia’s transshipment hub.

Vokes said enough of the breakwater, a seawall that ensures calm water inside the harbour, would be available soon for development of the first cargo terminal to start.

“The talks on the terminal are still on,” Vokes said. “We expect them to be finalized in the not too distant future.” Talks on the contract to build the terminal have dragged on for months between the government and the sole bidder, a consortium consisting of Chinese port operator China Merchants Holdi