Low Tide

November Presidential polls could stall an already delayed south port project, making Sri Lanka’s port sector more vulnerable to regional competition. November Presidential polls could stall an already delayed south port project, making Sri Lanka’s port sector more vulnerable to regional competition. After a number of failed starts later, earlier this year port officials said they expected to construction of a new container ports south of the Colombo Post to commence by October 2005.

The initial phase of the project is estimated at about US$ 400 million, with the ADB pitching in with US$ 150 million.

However, except for a possible additional US$ 50 million form the ADB, the government and port authorities are yet to make plans raise the balance of some US$ 200 million.

Officials say with the upcoming polls, the government is unlikely to make a decision on the port until December or early 2006.

A pilot project to assess the port’s feasibility to raise the required balance thought the debt market is also claimed to be stuck at the initial finding s stage, waiting for feedback from government policymakers.

Industry watchers say