One month ago, India and Japan were pulled out of the 2019 tripartite agreement to jointly develop the former container terminal, amid resistance from port unions against “foreign involvement”.
Sri Lanka said on Tuesday it would develop a West Container Terminal (WCT) at the Colombo port with India and Japan, a month earlier in a near-degree 360 degree policy, when both partners were excluded from the 2019 tripartite agreement. Amid the Port Union’s resistance against “foreign involvement”, jointly develop a pre-container terminal (ECT).
Informing the media about the decisions taken at the weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, spokesperson Kehlia Rambukwela said India and Japan have approved the development of WCT with designated investors. “India has named Adani ports, which were earlier nominated for investment in ECT, but Japan has not yet been able to respond,” the minister said.
After Sri Lanka renewed the 2019 agreement signed by the former Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government, Colombo offered the WCT as an alternative, allowing foreign investors to have a higher stake. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority was to have a 511% stake in the earlier agreement for the ECT project.
Now, in the WCT proposal, India and Japan will be given 85 per cent stakes, such as the nearby Colombo International Container Terminal, where China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited has an 85 per cent stake, officials said.