The Adani Group will become the first Indian port operator in Sri Lanka as construction of the Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal (WCT) is set to start on Wednesday.
The group will have the majority stake in the West Container International Terminal Joint Venture (JV) which is valued at $700 million.
The build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement which is to remain valid for 35 years, is said to be the “largest” foreign investment ever in Sri Lanka’s port history.
The state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority will own 15 per cent, while local company John Keells will own 34 per cent interests in the joint project.
A memorandum of understanding signed with India and Japan on the development of the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) in 2019, was withdrawn following the protest by Sri Lankan trade unions and some political parties.
However in March 2021, the Sri Lankan Cabinet granted approval for the development of the WCT through a public-private partnership (PPP) in collaboration with the SLPA and investors nominated by the Indian and Japanese governments.
According to reports, following the commencement of operations, the terminal is expected to increase the Colombo Port’s capacity to three million TEU a year.
The reports further said that nearly 45 per cent of Colombo’s trans-shipment volumes start from or are destined to an Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) terminal in India.
Completion of construction of the WCT is scheduled by 2024.