May 2, 2013 (LBO) – Colombo International Container Terminal Plc, (CICT) a unit of China Merchant Holdings (International) will begin discussions with potential customers shortly with the first berth due to open in July, an official said. SLPA’s existing Jaye container terminals and South Asia Gateway Terminals, owned by listed John Keells Holdings are operating at capacity.

In 2012, the existing terminals handled 4.18 million TEUs a 1.0 percent drop amid weaker trade conditions. It included 3.1 million transshipment containers.

“The port of Colombo can accommodate mega vessels,” CICT chief executive Yunshu Liu said on the sidelines of ports and logistics conference organized by Seatrade a consultancy, and state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

“There is strong interest from shipping lines in this deep water terminal because the trend is mega vessels with capacity of more than 10,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units).

“CICT is a deep water terminal with an 18 meter depth and the outreach of a crane is 17 meters.”

Some of the mega vessels now under construction will have the capacity to carry around 18,000 TEUs.

The first 400 meter berth will open for ship traffic on July 01 and the full terminal of three b