Chinese port operator optimistic about Colombo project
Published: Aug 31, 2023 01:12 AM
A view of the construction site of the Colombo Port City in Colombo, Sri Lanka Photo: Xinhua

A view of the construction site of the Colombo Port City in Colombo, Sri Lanka Photo: Xinhua

An executive at China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPort) told the Global Times on Wednesday that the company is optimistic about the new port complex project at Sri Lanka's Colombo Port.

Construction of the logistics hub, which will have total investment of $391 million, is expected to begin by the end of this year, Lu Yongxin, general manager of CMPort, told the Global Times at its interim conference call on Wednesday.

"Talks began in January this year and went through several rounds. The project has achieved phase success," Lu said.

The investment in South Asia Commercial and Logistics Hub, which will be South Asia's largest logistics hub, brings the company's investment in Sri Lanka to $2 billion, making the company the largest investor in Sri Lanka.

CMPort's other projects in Sri Lanka include Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) and the Hambantota Port.

Lu added that he believed the risks of the projects are controllable, including those from foreign exchange losses, and the CICT project alone offers 1,200 jobs to the local community. 

The company said it has a cautiously optimistic attitude toward the economic outlook for Sri Lanka, which has undergone turmoil but is on an improving track.

"We believe in the long-term development potential of the project, which will definitely get rewarded in terms of increased throughput due to economic growth in India and Sri Lanka," said Feng Boming, another executive at the company.

"In 2022, despite the shortage of essentials including fuel, our operation in Sri Lanka was not suspended even for one day," Feng said.

CMPort handled 66.5 million standard containers in the first six months of this year, up 0.3 percent year-on-year and showing a "steady growth trend," the company said in its first half report on Wednesday.