Terminal Talks

Jan 13, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Aiken Spence group has confirmed it was renegotiating a contract to build a deep-water container terminal with a Chinese shipping group after reports that it would pull out as costs had escalated beyond its means. Aitken Spence had reportedly been forced to pull out of the deal, the island’s biggest private sector infrastructure project, after additional equity funding was needed when a 350 million dollar loan from China Development Bank fell through at the last minute.

Aitken Spence had a 30 percent stake in Colombo International Container Terminals, which is to build and operate the container terminal, in a joint venture with China Merchant Holdings (International), which has 55 percent and state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority which has 15 percent.

The build, operate and transfer (BOT) project is the first container terminal in the new south port of Colombo that is under construction next to the existing harbour.

It is required to handle new-generation container ships that are too big to enter the present port.

“We are in negotiation with the shareholders of Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd . . . in accordance with the BOT agreement and the shareholders agreement,” Aitken Spence