“There is strong interest from shipping lines in this deepwater terminal because the trend is towards mega vessels with a capacity of more than 10,000 teu, said CICT’s chief executive Yunshu Liu.
The first 360 m berth will open on July 1, 2013 followed by a further 240 m by the end of this year and a further 600 m will be operational by April 2014, at which point the full 1,200 m long container terminal, with a water depth alongside of 18 m, will provide an annual throughput capacity of 2.2m teu.
CICT which is 85% owned by Hong Kong listed CMHI, a Chinese state run firm and 15% by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), is the first of three terminals to be built in Colombo’s South Harbour expansion project.
SLPA’s existing Jaye container terminals and South Asia Gateway Terminals are operating at capacity.
In 2012, the existing terminals handled 4.18 m teu (including 3.1m teu transhipment boxes), down 1% on the previous year amid weaker trade conditions.