April 25, 2007 (LBO) –The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Wednesday inked a deal with the Sri Lanka government to lend 300 million dollars to expand Colombo port that it said would help keep Sri Lanka’s shipping costs down. Finance Ministry secretary P.B. Jayasundera said the government will chip in with 180 million dollars, and expects private sector funding of 300 million dollars to build the first container terminal under the first phase expansion project.
ADB Country Director Richard Vokes said the 25-year soft loan is the largest loan from the agency to the government and is meant to retain Colombo’s position as south Asia’s transshipment hub.
Retaining Colombo’s status as a transshipment hub will help keep shipping and handling costs down which is important for the Sri Lankan economy, he said.
The money will help fund infrastructure construction in Colombo port’s expansion to cater to new deep-draft cargo ships being deployed on international trade routes.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya said contracts to build the infrastructure and container terminals will be awarded within the next three months.
The date for opening bids for the infrastructure