Port Moves

March 24, 2009 (LBO) – Two big shipping lines, four Sri Lankan conglomerates, and a Middle East port operator were among the prospective bidders for a new container terminal in Colombo port which met government officials last week. Two shipping lines also took part, Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping line, and APL, another big shipping line.

In addition Gulftainer, a port operator based in Sharjah in the UAE, and South Asia Gateway Terminals which manages the Queen Elizabeth Quay facility in Colombo were present.

The other parties at the pre-bid meeting were Standard Chartered Bank, Asian Development Bank which has lent money to build the breakwater for the new port, and China Harbour Engineering Company, one of the Chinese contractors building a new port in southern Hambantota. Eleven of the 12 parties which have so far collected the bid documents were present at the pre-bid meeting with Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) officials to seek clarifications on the project, officials said.

The request for proposals (RFP) to build and operate the first container in the new South Port of Colombo, being built next to the existing harbour, was called in mid-February.

Among the notable absentees at the pre-bid meeting w