Honourable Minister of Ports Shipping and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayaka said a master plan supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) would lay a robust foundation for the ports and maritime sector’s development until 2050.
“We had a lengthy meeting yesterday on the master plan and its proposals for every port in the country. It is a comprehensive programme that will serve as a roadmap for the sector’s growth,” Hon. Minister Ratnayaka said addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Ports and Shipping yesterday (21).
The press conference followed the launching ceremony of a maritime news website started by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (news.slpa.lk) to disseminate up-to-date information on the ports and shipping sector — a move that would strengthen Sri Lanka’s image in the global maritime sector.
Hon. Minister Ratnayaka also said the Oluvil harbour in the Eastern province would be handed over to the Fisheries Ministry to be developed as a fisheries harbour. He added the ministry came to the realization that it was the ideal plan for the Oluvil harbour which had meagre prospects as a commercial port.
“We are also in the process of deciding our course of action on the muchtalked-about East Container Terminal (ECT) project. I have requested the Ministry Secretary and the SLPA to present their observations on the matter.
They will have to evaluate if it is financially viable for the SLPA to invest in the ECT project or it should partner up with an external party. Based on their recommendation, I will discuss the matter with the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet,” the Hon. Minister explained.
Commenting on India’s involvement on the Kankesanthurai port development project, Ratnayaka said the matter was still under discussion.
“India will definitely support us on the ports and maritime sector. But, the level of their involvement is still being discussed. I think the Hon. Prime Ministers of India and Sri Lanka have discussed the matter at a very high level. I am still not aware of any final agreement.”
He also added that Trincomalee and Galle harbours will have night navigation before the end of 2019.
“New infrastructure and radar systems will soon be set up to make night navigation possible at Trincomalee harbour. Japan has given JPY 01 billion for the transformation of Trinco harbour. SLPA will invest its own money to install night navigation at the Galle harbour.