ADB advises on Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port PPP

The multilateral lender plans to scale up its operations in Sri Lanka by providing more than $2bn in loans and equity in the next three years.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is advising the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) on the East Container Terminal of Colombo Port, which will be developed through a public-private partnership (PPP). 

ADB will help SLPA in developing a bankable PPP structure and organising a competitive tender to select the private sector partner, Ryuichi Kaga, head of ADB’s PPP office, said in a statement. 

With investment needs budgeted at $500 million, the project will include operationalisation of the existing 400m of deep water berth and the full design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of the remaining 800m of berth under a concession period of 35 years. 

SLPA has already invested $80 million in the construction of the 400m berth at the terminal. In 2008, ADB provided a $300 million loan to support the construction of the breakwater of the Colombo Port. 

“The terminal will maintain Colombo Port’s strategic position as a key trans-shipment hub for global and regional trade,” said Sri Widowati, ADB’s country director for Sri Lanka. “The project will bring leading operations and technology from the private sector to import the port’s value proposition to global shipping lines and increase its market share in the global trans-shipment market.”

Apart from its support to Colombo Port, ADB also has plans to scale up its operations in Sri Lanka. It has been working with the government to build a pipeline of projects and aims to provide more than $2 billion in loans and equity in 2016 through 2018. The lender has invested $1.5 billion in the preceding three years. 

The funding will be further expanded to support higher-quality infrastructure including expressways, railway upgrades, renewable power generation and building economic corridors to accelerate industrialisation. In the past, ADB has focused on improving basic infrastructure through projects like the Galle Grid Substation in the southern province and the Southern Expressway connecting Colombo and Matara. 

Since 1968, when ADB’s lending operations started in Sri Lanka, ADB has approved sovereign and non-sovereign loans totalling $7.49 billion, as at December 2015. It has also provided $358 million in grant assistance for projects and $130 million in technical assistance grants.