Port Bid

Feb 10, 2008 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is pushing to award a container terminal concession in Colombo to Hutchison Port Holdings despite a technical committee nod for rival Port of Singapore Authority, a news report said Sunday. “The SLPA is determined to award the Colombo South Port Development Project to Hutchison of Hong Kong, going against the recommendations made by the Cabinet-Appointed Negotiating Committee (CANC) and the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC),” The Nation newspaper said.

It said the recommendations made by TEC were accepted by three members out of the four of the CANC.

The sole dissenting member, Saliya Wickremasuriya, the SLPA chairman, wanted the contract to be awarded to Hutchison on the grounds that it gave a better deal to the SLPA, the newspaper said.

The award of the contract to build and operate the new container terminal in Colombo has been eagerly awaited by the island’s shipping community which has been concerned by months of delay.

Shipping industry officials said they fear the delay could cause Colombo to lose the race in the transhipment hub port business as other rival ports might build new capacity faster, especially in India and attract shipping lines.