At the request for proposals (RFP) pre-bid meeting in February 2009, eight parties collected bidding documents for the construction of the Colombo South Harbour terminal: Sri Lankan conglomerates John Keells Holdings, Aitken Spence, Hayleys and Hemas, in addition to Maersk, APL, Sharjah’s Gulftainer and Colombo’s South Asia Gateway Terminals. It is hoped that the winner will be announced in the very near future.
Among notable absentees were the front-runners in the previous bidding round, PSA and Hutchison Port Holdings with the latter announcing on July 9, 2009 that “We declined to submit a bid for the Colombo South Harbour terminal after studying the contents of the revised Request for Proposal (RFP). Elements of our previous bid were incorporated into the new RFP, placing HPH at a competitive disadvantage.”
The shipping industry has expressed fears that the repeated delays in building the new port to handle the newest and biggest ships could cause Colombo to lose business. However, the Sri Lankan Port Authority management has said that the South Harbour project is now making satisfactory progress, with the harbour infrastructure works contractor Hyundai Engineering and Construction of South Korea having already commenced work offshore.