CURRENT POLITICAL CRISIS HALTS PROJECT
Development of the Jaya Container Terminal at the Colombo Port has come to a standstill due to the current political crisis. The project, another infrastructure project to come to a grinding halt due to the crisis, was set to enhance the depth capacity of the terminal and purchase additional machinery. Despite being approved by both former cabinets, the project was put on hold when the political landscape changed once again earlier this week.
The initial cabinet proposal, submitted by former Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe on October 5 and approved on October 23, sought to award the contract to ACESS NAVIS Joint Venture in accordance with the recommendations of the Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) to improve the NAVIS Terminal Management System and the Unity Container Terminal (UCT) of the terminal.
Thereafter, the proposals were submitted once again to the new cabinet on November
21. Also submitted by former Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe, the new proposals sought to procure container handling equipment and enhance the deep berth capacity of the terminal and were approved as recommended by the Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee. However, cabinet approved proposals to award the contract to procure container handling equipment for a sum of USD 25.7 million to M/s. Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. and award the civil work contract to enhance the deep berth capacity of the terminal to M/s. China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority set to fund the project.
When contacted, former Minister Samarasinghe said he was unaware of such a proposal and requested the question be posed to the Secretary of the Ministry of Ports and Shipping. However, when an additional secretary of the Ministry was contacted, the official also said they were unaware of such a project and directed the Daily Mirror to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
When the paper contacted the SLPA, officials said they were unaware of such a project and stated that they were yet to receive the relevant cabinet proposals for guidance.