This is the Colombo Port City?

28 Responses

  1. Sahara says:

    Impressive read. Thank you for letting us know what is happening, as it is.

  2. Yazblu says:

    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.

  3. Sum Ting says:

    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.

    • Truth says:

      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.

  4. very informative piece. you should add some share buttons for twitter etc on your page.

  5. anon says:

    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

    • icaruswept says:

      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.

  6. Hiranthika says:

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

  7. sujeevan says:

    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.

    • Emil van der Poorten says:

      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?

      • icaruswept says:

        “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.

  8. Naveen says:

    Do we really need a port city for this country? Even Dubai palm island cause huge impact on corals and beaches around that area

  9. Thilan says:

    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. 😀

  10. Monke says:

    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!

  11. Anuja Lamahewa says:

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

  12. Seoula says:

    Thanks for posting and keep up the good work. Were there any mention of plans to handle the rising ocean levels? My understanding is that many coastal and low lying areas of the island are under threat in the next decade or two.

  13. Jack Point says:

    Some ideas on dealing with unsolicited proposals in general and the port city in particular:

  14. xlntgson says:

    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?

    • Indi says:

      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.

  15. Mevan says:

    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?

  16. Lal de Mel says:

    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.

  17. K.Chevvez says:

    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.

  18. nalin ashubodha says:

    Well written. Piya Congratulations. Nalin

  19. Ranjith Wickramasinghe says:

    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.

    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.

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