This is the Colombo Port City?

Yesterday, I was invited to go on a (guided) tour of the much-discussed Colombo Port City. I, along with a small crowd of twitterati, were taken to look at what’s already built, ask questions, take photos and cross-examine the management of CHEC Port City Colombo Private Limited, the people doing the actual construction. When I told my friends that I’d be at the Port City in the morning, the first thing everyone said was “Don’t get shot”.

inside van

Indeed, I expected people with guns and boards saying “no photography”. It was something of a disappointment: I wasn’t shot at, was never told to put my camera down. We were taken in vans to the actual site, and I did not see a single soldier: instead, my group had David (Li Yue), a very cordial fellow who told me he’d been here for a year and a half and lived near the Beira Lake, towards the temple. He mentioned using Yamu.lk to explore the city and said that liked to get his coffee from Whight and Co on Marine Drive.

David was worried; he referred multiple times to “this pressure”. We were escorted around by the chief engineer of the project (a Sri Lankan, though I did not catch his name). He’s the man on the left in white shirtsleeves in the photo below.

2
The only thing even remotely threatening was the scowl on the face of that guy in the black shirt.

I expected the tour to lead us away from the actual building of the land, and in that I was correct. We started at an engineer’s barracks, headed a brief distance to the edge of the marina being constructed, and then were whisked inland to the top of the Pagoda for “a bird’s eye view”. After that, it was off to a boardroom discussion with higher-ranking officials from the project. In short, we didn’t get to set foot on the significant portion of the work. Thankfully, my camera, while not very fancy, can still read numberplates at that distance.

IMG_1843

I don’t tweet often, but those who were tweeting that day were taking a phenomenal amount of flak on Twitter, so let’s start off with a disclaimer:

  • I do not represent any government.
  • I was there in my capacity as a blogger, and not representing any person, organization or group of persons that I work for or have affiliations with. I went on the condition that I would get to ask questions and expect some straight answers.
  • I was not involved in the selection of those who attended, nor am I affiliated with those who presumably did the selecting.
  • I was not paid for this. We were given lunch, a notebook (paper, not electronic) and a pen drive. I can easily afford all three (and I believe this is true for all who were there that day), so I do not take this is a bribe, but rather, a courtesy.
  • All images used in this post are mine, unless otherwise mentioned. Feel free to use them.

1

THE NUMBERS

IMG_1850
Click for full-size image

The tour began from Galle Face Green and into a visual overview of the Colombo Port City. But before I project my opinion, here are the numbers. They’ll make it easier to understand (or visualize) the photos:

  • The Port City will be 223 hectares in area (2.23 square km, or 541 acres).  It’s a huge curving shape that’ll stretch from the tip of the Colombo Port parallel to the Pagoda, curving towards an end in front of the Old Parliament building, and will be protected by a massive breakwater following the curve of the newly-built land. To be crude, we’re not giving land to the Chinese: the Chinese are making land. 
  • The Port City Project is done by CHEC Port City Colombo, a company integrated under Sri Lankan law. It is a local front fully owned and operated by China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC).
  • CCCC is owned by the Chinese government; 10,324.9 million shares, 63.84% of the total capital, is held by the China Communications Construction Group,  controlled by State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASC). They’re listed on the stock exchanges of both Singapore and China ( SEHK1800, SSE: 601800 ).  They’re also on Forbes Global 2000 (# 306), with assets worth $85.6 billion. Here are the reports from Reuters and Bloomberg.
  • As far as I can make out, they’re the third largest port construction company in the world. They built the Macau International Airport (the entire island, not just the airport), the Hong Kong International Airport (which also involved building the land it’s on) and the Gawadar Deepwater Port in Pakistan. In 2009 the World Bank debarred it for fraud in a Philippines road construction project, preventing it from working on any World Bank sanctioned road or bridge projects until January 12, 2017. You can Google these guys; skip past the wave of press releases and find newspaper articles from different countries for the best reading experience.
  • Why is CCCC important? Because CCCC is not an investor of the Port City, but the investor: the entirety of spending for this project is from their coffers (they told us the fund for the Colombo Port City roughly 30% from equity and 70% from loans they’ve obtained, but I have no way of verifying this.) CHECH Port City Colombo simply seems to be the legal intermediary. GoSL spends nothing.
  • Once the Port City is built, the Government of Sri Lanka, according to the contract, gets 125 hectares (308.882 acres) on a freehold basis (meaning you own it forever, and have the right to do what you want with it). CCCC gets 108 hectares (266.874 acres). Of these, 88 hectares are on a 99-year lease: at the end of 99 years, ownership is to be transferred to the GoSl. 20 hectares will be owned by CCCC on a freehold basis.I have not seen this contract, so make of this what you will. When I asked to see a copy of the document, or whether it will be released to the public at any point, I was told that the contract is private and confidential.

MY GOD, IT’S FULL OF SAND

We trudged out to an outpost of sand and rock, but it was only at the Pagoda that I managed to get a clear view of the proceedings:

image_optimized
Click for full-size image

This is the Port City. Those blue-roofed buildings are where the tour started. That stretch of rubble past the lighthouse (left) were where we were taken to. In its current state, it looks like someone just stumbled across a beach; it would be cute if it weren’t for the scale of the city: this is just 10% of the full thing. The rest of the land reclamation will take another 2 1/2 years.

(Land reclamation, for those not in the know, is the process of excavating sand from the sea and by  dumping massive amounts of it directly onto the seabed. Here it’s done by a process called rainbow dredging: a ship called the dredger collects slurry – sand mixed with water – which then stored on the ship and transported to the site. A dredger can eject the slurry in massive arcs to where it needs to go, like a torrential vomit of several tons of sand and water).

This, apparently, is a dredger. Feel free to verify with someone who knows their ships (I don’t).

Where we stood, it was about 8 metres to the seabed. Out towards the Port City’s planned edges, nearer to the lighthouse, it was around 22 metres.  A breakwater, 5.5 km in length, will run around all of the city.  I was told it would take between 60 and 70 million cubic meters of sand for Phase I and about 4 million cubic meters of rubble, with the rubble being supplied by 10 local suppliers.  The engineers told me that if the suspension was lifted tomorrow, they could have it done in about 30 months. None of this, they insisted, was on schedule any more. Everything that was shown to the public – those high-rise buildings, images of parks and so on – is still far away. Here’s a rough timeline of how all this came to be:

  • 1998: First proposal by a Singaporean Company called CESMA (now Suburna)
  • 2004: Western Megapolis plan submitted by the UNP, with Pettah to be a leisure center with a harbour front (http://www.sundaytimes.lk/110918/News/nws_19.html). The project went nowhere.
  • 2011: Beginning of discussions between CCCC and the GoSL Bid submitted to SLFP (they were very adamant that it was submitted to the part and not the government as a whole). Standing cabinet reviews the bid.
  • 2012: Detailed proposal submitted to SLFP
  • 2013:  EIA done by Moratuwa University.
  • 2014: Cabinet approves key terms (January); Approval given to sign the contract (September)

Phase II, where investors  buy land, move in, and turn the whole thing into the new Colombo, is supposed to be 15 years in the future.  We were later shown a map, which we were asked not to photograph because it was not yet finalized. It had residential units marked along the piers and towards the middle, making up about half of the total area.

Towards Colombo were banks of commercial buildings; near the pagoda were areas allocated for a hospital. There were areas for educational institutes, for a convention center, for watersport parks, 3.5 km of beaches, and a marina in front of the Old Parliament where yachts are supposed to be parked. There’s a body of water down the middle. Buildings will be built (by anyone) under both structural and aesthetic guidelines from a massive development  control regulations document.  One of my notes from that meeting reads “It looks like it could be pretty, also pretty self-sufficient.”

IMG_1920

I did not see any submarines or docking stations. If they are coming, they certainly aren’t here yet. The master plan for the City, I was told, was done by Sweco (of Sweden) and audited by Atkins of UK. AECOM  (of the US of A) mapped out infrastructure while CBRE mapped out project feasibility. All of these are massive, international companies, so if anyone can cross-check and verify, that would be excellent.

WHO OWNS US NOW? 

Sri Lanka, as a whole, never saw this contract, and were never told the terms. That, eventually led to the most pressing question for all of us: what law will be applied here? Whose land is this? Is this Sri Lankan or is it Chinese?

I asked this question from the Sri Lankan engineers, from David, and later, from Lian Thow Ming, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of CHEC Port City Colombo. They were adamant that it was Sri Lankan law. Any business setting up shop here would have to comply with the laws and edicts of the government of Sri Lanka. And, just as importantly, jurisdiction of the sea area belongs beyond and around the harbour to Sri Lanka. I assume this means that Sri Lankan police will patrol the streets, preventing crime and creating traffic.

Ming was polite, but irritated. At every stage there was an undercurrent of frustration with the government. I’ll type here what he said:

 “Under the laws of this country, anyone who buys a plot of land owns it. We are not only spending 13 billion dollars for land, but also giving more than half of it to your government to keep for free.  […] But we are not even buying land, we are making land.  […]We own part of this land. We will sell it to investors to come build here, and we will make a profit. Do you think if we were not doing this under the laws of your country, we would suspend this project? No, we would not. If we were doing this illegally we would not stop building. But your government asks us to stop, so we stop and wait for their word.  We are not doing this because we are charitable people, or because we want to occupy part of the country. No company is going to spend 13 billion dollars for nothing. We come for business and profit.

Some people were arguing that there were tax breaks. Of course. To make this project commercially viable there must be some incentive. If you don’t do the project, nobody generates profit, nobody makes anything. If you do the project, people set up businesses here, businesses make profit and that means more tax money.”

That actually makes sense if you look at CCCC as a purely commercial entity rather than an extension of China’s government (a very big if, mind you). Because honestly, there’s enough and more people bitching about how Sri Lanka should hurry up and turn into Singapore already, but pride and culture doesn’t buy development: money and trade does.

Image courtesy of the CHEC
Image courtesy of the CHEC

The next part, though, doesn’t make sense: with regard to the actual plots (of the city)  CCCC / CHEC apparently has “no idea” what parts they’ll be owning. They are getting 108 acres, but which pieces? There is a process with the government, they say. The government hasn’t yet told them what parts it wants. I have no experience in building port cities, nor do I deal with billions of dollars, but I have a great deal of trouble believing that anyone would invest such a huge amount of money and effort and then say “oh, we have no idea what exactly we’re getting.”

WILL THEY MAKE A RACETRACK?

Throughout the whole thing, I asked people what they would do if the project was shut down by the government. What the contingency plans were. Almost everybody said they believed that would not happen, but yes, it turns out the contract apparently has means of reclaiming their investment. What these, and how they could be enforced, they were reluctant to discuss: Lien’s legal aide broke in with mention of a Sri Lanka – China bilateral agreement signed somewhere in the 1970’s that protect them in some form.  China’s had a pretty long history with Sri Lanka: quite a lot of military gear and telecom infrastructure are from Chinese companies. I have no idea what this agreement is, though: if it exists, it doesn’t seem to show up on the web. If anyone knows what it is, do link below.

The environment is the next  most frequent question. I was told that according to the terms of the contract, the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) report was the responsibility of the government of Sri Lanka. It was done by the Moratuwa University and was commissioned by the Ports Authority. And that was apparently as far as they were willing to go.

There  is a whole lot of controversy surrounding this report, some of politically generated (see http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2015/02/15/controversy-surrounds-colombo-port-city/) some of it from actual environment activists and lawyers (see http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=business/port-city-has-not-undergone-cea-s-eia-report).  There’s also the question of waste: something this large means, quite literally, a lot of shit. And heat. And all manner of other substances. On that, Ming had no answer: they said they were still figuring it out. “We’re still not going to dump it in the sea – that’s what you do now,” he said.

That makes no sense. If anything, it casts more doubt onto that EIA. How do you assess environmental impact if you have no idea where metric tons of waste will go?

One of the last questions put to me before I went off was what effect all of this would have on the price of commodities – namely, sand and rubble. This question eventually evolved into a discussion on the suppliers. Right now, the Colombo Port City project employs 10 suppliers bringing them rubble. They didn’t disclose the names of the suppliers, but the Lankan engineers were quick to say that they employ ten out of hundreds in the country, so there’s no risk of the market running out, and that they needed that number mostly because logistics of running 500 trucks a day deemed it necessary. The sand they deemed irrelevant to the market: building construction needed river sand, they pointed out, not sea sand. They were fantastically proud of the Port City, they said, and of their part in it.

As for the land value increasing of Colombo increasing? That’s actually inevitable, but it works out well for CCCC: higher land values in Colombo also mean more people will be inclined to buy land on the Port City. Cue higher profits.

And the racetrack? “We have no plans as of yet to build an F1 racetrack,” said Ming cautiously. “I come from Singapore, where we turn the Marina Bay roads into a street circuit for night races (note to self: aha, now we know where that idea comes from). The quality of tar required is different. Our roads will be good, but maybe we will not have an F1 here just yet.”  

WHAT BUGS ME ABOUT THE WHOLE THING

map

  • The politicians and the String of Pearls
    The Colombo Port City is as much a symbol of political and cultural power as anything else. Politicians use it as ammunition for their causes; conservatives roar about casinos and brothels and the slow death of Lankan culture; Ceylon Today is using it to generate lots of web traffic; India seems to fear it; the US is wriggling. The former two are idiots, but look up the String of Pearls hypothesis and you’ll see why the superpowers are getting their underwear in a twist.
  • The mystique 
    “Is this piece of land Sri Lankan or Chinese?” is not a question any citizen should have to ask  inside Sri Lanka. The government should have made these things clear. Instead of actual data, one sees the “sovereignty” tossed around by every Tom, Dick and Kotalawala.  Why the draconian security? If this was such a simple, commercial deal, why all the mystique? When I asked, Ming stated that they were aware that they should have “tried to reach out more to the public, and done it better, which is why you are here.”Even so, why a random collection of twitter personages? As fascinating as the Sri Lankan twitter community is,  a bunch of people taking selfies left, right and center and a blogger (me) is hardly a replacement for having actual journalists from the mainstream Sri Lankan media attending.
  • The plans “not being finalized”
    I don’t believe that.
  • Environmental impact was definitely not sorted out.
    If it’s the government’s responsibility to look into it, it should be looked into immediately. Right now it’s the equivalent of buying a commode without knowing where the bathroom is.
  • The contract.
    At every turn, this contract is referenced, but as far as I know the government has not made a single statement about it. At the very least, a list of the key points should be published. We are, as a nation, engaged in a giant political tug of war between China, India and the US. One of which has helped us massively in the past (China), one of which has funded terrorists and poached our fish (India) and one of which has a history of colossal arrogance and international war at the drop of a drop of oil.

I personally have no doubt that economically, this is going to be a huge thing. People will live here. There’ll be 3.5 kilometers of public beaches. Actual malls will set up shop, and not just micromalls like Majestic City and Crescat. International companies will set up offices here – retail spaces are enough; it’s the offices that will really drive change. Sri Lanka has a skilled IT / BPO industry; that will probably blossom.  Sri Lanka badly needs this kind of investment if it’s to become anything like the massively important hub of the world every full-blooded Sri Lankan seems to think it is. We don’t have the money ourselves, and nobody is willing to give it to us.

I was honestly reassured by how utterly profit-oriented the CHEC people seemed to be: between businessmen and politicians, it’s the latter that have problems with honesty. However, make no mistake: China is building this port. They’re say they’re not here to settle, but they have the right to; there’s plenty of space in there for everyone. And I don’t know what’s in that contract, but I don’t think Sri Lanka pulling out will be a painless process.  I also don’t think that everyone is playing with a straight bat.

For better or the worse, Chinese influence is coming. Whether we end up turning into Singapore or into Hong Kong remains to be seen.

Comments

28 thoughts on “This is the Colombo Port City?

  1. I think you may be the one good choice their agency made in selecting for the publicity tour, since I have so far seen nothing rational on Twitter! Thank you for the honest and succint report. I for one got my first real idea of what’s going on, although it is still a bit hazy due to the information gaps. Great reporting though, thanks again.

  2. Living here in Hong Kong for 20 years, the Environemental impacts is another BS from politicians.

    As I know the consultants like AECOM/Atkins/CBRE are amongs the very top companies in the workd and with their reputation at risk, will not allow anything bad to happen.

    The only problem here is the Rajapaksa family and mostly BR and NR may have got some big commissions from the developers running into Millions of US Dollars.

    What we need is to get a mechanism to get those ill gotten money from Rajapakasas and then let this project go ahead.

    If you compare the reclaimed land from sea in Hong Kong, this is just nothing., the new Air Port in Chep Lap Kok is built on reclaimed land as well as the central seafront with some buildings running upto 80+ floors built on reclaimed land.

    1. Chinese companies did projects in Africa by buying their leaders. They know how to hide black money. So it may take a while to locate kick backs to the rajapakse’s which obviously changed hands. If not this project would not have started.

  3. Just remember guys, no matter the good intentions of the writer, this trip was a propaganda one. What they presented to the visitors was basically curated so they will only see what the Chinese and GoSL want us to see

    1. That is true. I don’t doubt that for a second. These are my observations. Just to clarify, the data on CCCC ownership is stuff I dug up after going through the HK stock market, not stuff that was explicitly discussed.

  4. Thank you for this very informative write. Got to know much more than all other sources. So many things to think about.

  5. My only concern is why, WHY ? WHY did some politicals decided to do this. how much of internal land has been expolited and abused for all those thousands of tipper loads of granite that was brought here from inside of the land… where were they brought from, when they did the sea to mine sand, what happens to that area of the sea since this is not some natural formation. ok, leaving all that aside… why couldnt they develop the available land along the port side like mattakkuliya for such a project, we are still trying to find ways to reduce the garbage mountains…any bright ideas for recycling projects ? how about using sea water for renewble energy, how about developing the agriculture in this land, how about conserving the forests, the rivers, the lakes, the hills and most of all the culture, its no wonder why lost regime is fighting to get back on this selfish destructive road so many mysterious projects signed with no tranparency and the poor people have no idea that they maybe living on someone elses property.

    1. I share your suspicions about all of this, particularly since there is something not quite right with the author’s claimed independence. Simple question: How and on what basis was this blogger and other invitees given the conducted tour?
      Sorry folks, EVERY international boondoggle has been dressed up in this fashion – check Arundhati Roy’s devastating analysis of the mega dams in India, reporting which she put her life at risk.
      At the end of the day, “national interest’ will be window dressing, the Chinese will get what they want (as they have everywhere they’ve gone, irrespective of the real interests of their hosts) and the ranks of corrupt local politicians will swell and their foreign bank accounts will grow exponentially).
      Are people still stupid enough to believe all this bunkum about “development” when the fact of the matter is that “development,” corrupt or otherwise is the root of the insurmountable problems that we are bringing on ourselves, both rich and poor nations?

      1. “How and on what basis was this blogger and other invitees given the conducted tour?” I did ask those exact same question at the end of my article (I assume you did read that far?). As for the basis, I have no idea. I’d ask Ogilvy Sri Lanka if I were you.

  6. One of the best pieces of the Colombo Port City project I have read. Got to read it as EFL had reposted it.

    Also, anyone know for something like the, the environmental impact assessment cannot be and should not be done in one go. One for the land reclamation and possibly another much later for the developments. Can even be for individual projects as we do now. You cannot do an EIA now for something that will be built in a decade. So many things will change by then. Especially things like sewage, solid waste and waste water capacity of the city and its infrastructure.
    And for the record, you can buy a ‘commode’ without knowing where the toilet is. Clients do that sometimes even against our advice. 😀

  7. finally a decent read that attempts to answer our questions about a project in our city. answered a few of the many questions hovering in our minds!

  8. Informative article and as Thilan said “One of the best pieces of the Colombo Port City project I have read”.

  9. Disclaimers apart, tad biased towards Indians as they funded terrorism and poached! In one stroke winning the hearts and minds of both the main ethnic divide, will this work for a reconciliation?

    1. The ethnic divide isn’t between us and India. India funding terrorism and sending military here hurt Sri Lankan Tamils more than anyone else, as does poaching by Indian fishermen.

  10. Two questions:
    1. Why was’nt all this told before; why was everyone kept in the dark?
    2. Will this benefit the larger population of Sri Lanka? If so, how? Is it meant for affluent investors here and abroad who will go on to make even more?

  11. This is the most informative article on this massive foreign investment. It is quite balanced.

    I hope this government that was elected on the promise of good governance, will collect the required information and resolve any issues expeditiously and approve this project before the parliament is dissolved. If not, it will have a significant negative impact on foreign investment.

  12. Colombo Port City is a bounty for the genocide of Tamils by China. China has promised to keep Sri Lanka as one of the worst human rights violators in the world by continuing to defend violations at UNHRC and UN.

  13. The reclamation of land in the COLOMBO PORT was first conceptualised under my tenure as Chairman, Sri Lanka ports Authority (SLPA).

    The historical developments were as follows:

    During the latter half of 1996 SLPA conceived the idea of shifting the expansion of Colombo Port to the southern side of the existing harbour basin, rather than to the congested northern Mutuwal side as has been planned before.

    Building of the New South Port of Colombo (NSP) was conceptualised in 1996 with proposed expansion of the Queen Elizabeth Quay (QEQ) on a BOT basis.

    The new port, NSP would be built adjacent to the QEQ on the southern side of the existing harbour basin that had been built over hundred years ago.

    QEQ would have one terminal with three berths, and TEU 1 million capacity.

    The New South Port of Colombo will comprise of new breakwater, 17 meter draft with three terminals comprising of 11 berths, with 4 million TEU capacity. Upon completion of the 11th
    berth of NSP in 2010 the capacity of Colombo would increase to 7 million TEU from TEU 1.3 million.

    It was envisaged that the Breakwater of the NSP would cost around US Dollars 300 million would have to be constructed by SLPA whilst the terminals could be done on a Build Operate and Transfer ( BOT) basis/SLPA.

    The financing of the Breakwater would entail SLPA providing 30% counterpart funds whilst the balance 70% will be provided by a multi-lateral agency.

    The port of Colombo handled 1.7 Million TEU in 1997 compared to 1 million in 1995 and 1.3 million in 1996, recording a growth rate of 25% per annum, became the fastest growing hub port in the world.

    Multi-lateral agencies were very keen to provide finance for the breakwater as all eyes were on the growth of Colombo Hub Port.

    Provision of 30% counterpart funds during the height of war was not going to be easy; hence we resorted to the Reclamation of Land.

    The construction of the new breakwater of the New South Port, (I was told by the engineers of SLPA), would create a beach head adjacent to the break water. The idea of reclamation of land to support the financing of NSP was conceptualised in 1996.

    The plan was to reclaim 10 to 20 acres of land in the Prime Business District of Colombo to raise finance for SLPA. The new land mass would be created just behind the Light House.

    The major milestones of the fifteen year plan (1996- 2010) were as follows:

    Port of Colombo Short to medium term milestones

    1997 actual throughput – TEU 1.7 million.
    1998 Plan – TEU 2.0 million with productivity improvements
    1999 Plan – TEU 2.2 million with Extra cranes + feeder berths, etc
    2000 Plan – TEU 2.4 million with QEQ 1st berth
    2001 Plan – TEU 2.6 million with QEQ 2nd berth
    2002 Plan – TEU 2.7 million with QEQ 3rd berth ( terminal capacity 2.9 mil TEU)
    2003 Plan – TEU 2.9 million with NSP 1 ( terminal capacity 3.2 mil TEU)
    2004 Plan – TEU 3.0 million with NSP 2 ( terminal capacity 3.6 mil TEU)
    2005 Plan – TEU 3.5 million with NSP 3-4 ( terminal capacity 4.3 mil TEU)

    2010 Plan – TEU 5.2 million with NSP 5-11 (terminal capacity 6.9 mil TEU)

    I understand that the New South Port had been renamed as the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) in 2007.

    The breakwater of the CPEP, had been completed in 2012 almost ten years behind the schedule.

    The first terminal thereon on the southern side ( of the New South Port as was called earlier) had commenced operations in 2013 as a BOT with Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd.
    (CICT).

    I understand that CICT is a Joint Venture between China Merchant Holdings (International) Co Ltd and the SLPA owning 15%.

    The new (Colombo Port City) Land is now being reclaimed on the southern side of the New South Port of Colombo as had been conceptualised in the 1996 plan.

    The difference being that the 1996 plan envisaged reclaiming about 10 to 20 acres for land to support financing of the NSP which was scheduled for year 2001 , whilst the present Port City Project entails reclamation of some 500 acres of land for a standalone business venture.

    I have not gone into the merits and demerits of this Mega Colombo Port City. My interest at this moment in time is put things into the proper perspective for the benefit of the Public.

    I must thank the Blogger “ icaruswept” for the very informative data and intriguing post that catalyzed me to draft this comment (albeit it being a long one). The info I have posted, I hope will clarify the historical facts behind this development; for the public put things into the proper perspective with respect the past developments especially in 1996, when the SLPA took a major decision to expand Southwards rather the northwards.

    Incidentally I would like to take this opportunity to place on record that SLPA earned a profit of Rs 3000 million in 1997 surpassing even the private sectors Corporates. I understand that SLPA now is faced with financial deficits despite huge investments poured in the last decade.

    The writer was the former Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *