COLOMBO, March 16:
Dispelling all concerns, Colombo Port City officials are courting Indian investors in the Sri Lankan project in competition with Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia.
The port city will hold roadshows in India over the next two to three months to showcase the benefits of the project to Indian investors, Saliya Wickramasuriya, spokesperson for the Colombo Port City Economic Commission, told UNI.
Colombo enjoys a cost advantage of 80%, 76%, 29% and 21% in annual operating costs compared to Singapore, Dubai, Hanoi and Kuala Lampur, he said.
Wickramasuriya said the Port City project was a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Sri Lankan government and CHEC Port City Colombo Pvt Ltd (Project Company) with an investment of $1.4 billion.
“A total of $1.12 billion has been invested by the end of March 2021 with an additional $380 million to be invested. The Sri Lankan government will hold full title to the 269 hectares of reclaimed land,” he added.
The Colombo Port City Economic Commission (CPCEC) Bill was tabled for parliamentary approval on April 8 last year. The bill was approved by parliament on May 20.
Yamuna Jayaratne, Director of Sales and Marketing, CHEC Port City Colombo, said the project is made up of five different neighborhoods, each with its own distinct identity: Financial District, Central Park Living, International Island, The Marina and Island Living. To date, 105 hectares are ready for construction.
The Sri Lankan government will provide 116 hectares of the total marketable land on a 99-year lease which CPCC can monetize while the rest will be developed by the government.
Wickramasuriya said Port City Colombo has developed infrastructure to help the Indian government set up R&D centers and innovation labs on futuristic technologies and services that cater to untapped opportunities in South Asian markets.
Some of the great collaboration opportunities in the field would include ITES, Big Data, Analytics, Robotics and AI to leverage the technological talents of both countries and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the region, he said.
He said ports, including the Western Container Terminal to be developed by the Adani Group, remain strategic for India.
In the port of Colombo, 80% of the activity is transhipment. Of this total, 70% is destined for India and of this 70%, 35% goes to ports owned by Adani.
Wickramasuriya said India must play a proactive role in building infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
He said that India and Sri Lanka extended the existing science and technology cooperation for three years, during the 5th India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission held on January 20 this year.
Indians make up one of the largest groups of tourists visiting Sri Lanka, 20-25%.