Politicians put China’s Colombo port project in jeopardy

Beijing: China’s plans to build a $1.4bn port city in Colombo could be in jeopardy if the leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition party is re-elected as prime minister in January.

Former prime minister and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that “haphazard” land reclamation near Colombo harbour would cause environmental damage to pristine beaches on the island’s western coast.

Wickremesinghe told press that his opposition party would "take a fresh look at the development project" if they returned to power after the presidential election on January 8, 2015.

Construction of the port city is underway after China Merchant Holdings signed an agreement with Sri Lanka Ports Authority on September 17 this year. The port city is Sri Lanka's largest single foreign investment. 

China will gain ownership of one-third of the total 233 hectares of reclaimed land that the new port city will occupy.

Colombo Port City is being built alongside Colombo South Container Terminal, in which China Merchants Holdings has also invested and manages. The terminal was completed in April this year.

China Communication Construction and China Merchants Group are also working on Phase II of the development of the container terminal at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, which is being constructed on a supply, operate, transfer (SOT) basis. [17/12/14]

 

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