Regional Expansion

July 18, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s port expansion projects in the capital Colombo and Hambantota in the south, can benefit from expanding regional trade as India and China grows, a media report said. ‘South-South’ trade could account for 40 percent of world trade in 2030 from 18 percent now, according to a Standard Chartered Bank report quoted by Bloomberg, a news service.

Regional growth can support Sri Lanka ports even as US struggles with 9.2 percent unemployment, the report said.

Sri Lanka straddles the main East-West sea route that has brought sea farers to the country from ancient times.

Sri Lanka is expanding container capacity in Colombo with a 500 million dollar new terminal with state-run China Merchant Holdings and Sri Lanka’s listed Aitken Spence group.

In 2010 container volumes in Colombo rose 22 percent to 4.16 million twenty foot equivalent units as the country’s own external trade recovered. Colombo is expected to expand capacity to 10.8 million TEUs by 2015.

At the time a new port in Hambantota would bring the total capacity up to 12.8 million TEU’s, Bloomberg quoted state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority chief Priyath Wickrema as saying.

“Hambantota is th