Access Engineering-led JV gets Rs 43B ECT contract
Access Engineering PLC (AEL), with its technical partner China Harbour Engineering, has been awarded the contract to construct the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
The project was advertised for competitive bidding where a local company was required to be the majority shareholder of a proposed joint venture with the requirement of major Marine construction experience being contributed by the respective international partners. In this instance, AEL holds 51% of the joint venture and is set to gain technical knowhow and experience of building large scale marine construction projects.
Rohana Fernando, MD of AEL said, “We will strive to complete the project ahead of the scheduled 36-month contract period”. He further said this maybe the single biggest contract awarded to a Sri Lankan-led joint venture and commended on how SLPA has promoted and given the opportunity to Sri Lankan companies to take part in such large infrastructure projects. Upon successful completion of the ECT project, Access Engineering would get required experience to compete for similar projects outside Sri Lanka.
The ECT was originally planned to be commercially operational in 2016 and would be eight years behind schedule when operations are earmarked to begin in 2023. The SLPA has fast-tracked the bidding process and has set aside SLPA reserve funds which allow them to own and operate the terminal.
ECT is the second deep water terminal to be developed since the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) started commercial operations in 2013. CICT for the first time will surpass 3M TEUs by the end of 2021 which will stagnate further deep water birthing capacity, until ECT begins commercial operations with the development of its first 600m of birthing capacity scheduled to be completed by May 2023 whilst the full terminal development up to 1,320m is scheduled to be completed by end 2024, allowing a 3M TEU throughput capacity when fully operational.
With the West Container Terminal concession already signed with Adani Ports, India and John Keells Holdings, it is expected for a further 3M TEU capacity by end 2024. Therefore, with a total of additional 6M TEU capacity available from 2025, Colombo Port is ready to become a premier transshipment hub giving much needed impetus to the Sri Lankan economy.