ECT construction begins tomorrow

By Rajiesh Seetharam | Published: 2:00 AM Jan 12 2022
News ECT construction begins tomorrow

By Rajiesh Seetharam

Civil construction work costing USD 200 million at the East Container Terminal (ECT) will commence tomorrow and end by July 2024, Minister of Ports and Shipping, Rohitha Abeygunawardena said.

Speaking at a media briefing, the Minister said construction work at the ECT almost remains the same as it was in 2015, when the Yahapalana Government took over. 

“However, during the same period, the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) has grown into a terminal which handled 3.2 million TEUs by 2021. 

CICT has the deep draft which can cater to large vessels in the world. If we had progressed work on the ECT after 2015, by now we could have added another 3.2 million TEU capacity to the Colombo Port,” the SLPA Chairman, Captain Nihal Keppetipola said. 

Nearly 80 per cent of the world volumes are dominated by three major shipping alliances, which are 2M, Ocean Alliance and The Alliance.

“If you look at the order books, most of the ships are mega vessels with a capacity of over 10,000 TEUs or feeder vessels with less than 7,000 TEUs. There are hardly any vessels with a capacity in-between 7,000 and 10,000 TEUs.

Thus mega vessels and feeder vessels are going to be the future. 

So, Sri Lanka is going to be the shipping hub of South Asia, as no mega vessel would deviate from the East -West shipping route due to operational costs,” Keppetipola said.

He added that with the construction of the ECT, it would add another three million TEU capacity by 2024. “With the construction of the West Container Terminal by 2026, another three million would be added, meaning the Colombo Port would have a 14 million container capacity by 2026. By 2035, adding some more terminals including the North Container Terminal, we can expect a capacity of 30 to 35 million TEUs for Colombo Port. 

World’s largest ship Ever Ace came to CICT last month. We have procured Ship To Shore (STS) cranes and Automated Rail Mounted gantry cranes, which could cater to large ships in the world like Ever Ace. 

Equipment costing USD 300 million, terminal operating system costs USD 20 million and civil construction would cost USD 200 million.  We have already constructed 600 metres of the 1,320 metre prior to this year which cost USD 100 million. Six years ago, we could have finished the same work at 50 per cent of the current cost.”  

Keppetipola noted that the civil construction work would commence with SLPA funds. 

When queried as to whether Hambantota would compete with the Colombo Port, Keppetipola said the Hambantota Port managed by CM Ports has plans for a container terminal but at a later stage. 


By Rajiesh Seetharam | Published: 2:00 AM Jan 12 2022

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