JKH Estimated To Invest US$ 80mn In West Container Terminal Project  
Posted 31,May

By Chaveendra Dunuwille

In Local News

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The future investment cycle of JKH would entail the development of Colombo Port’s West  Container Terminal (WCT), with an investment estimating US$ 70 to 80 million during the four year construction horizon of the terminal, as a party which holds significant equity share in the  tripartite project.  

The forgoing financial year of the company ended in March 2021 with a tremendously heavy  investment cycle, particularly with the nearing of completion of its iconic property development  project ‘Cinnamon Life’. This over seven-year plus investment cycle will end an year from now,  with the scheduled completion and handing over of the residential and office units of the project  in the first quarter of 2022/2023.  

The company plans to commence the construction of the terminal early next year. The full  completion will take 48 months, but part of it will become operational in 24 months. JKH had  received a letter of intent as the local private sector party to the tripartite agreement to build,  operate and transfer the WCT along with Andani Ports and Special Economic Zone in India and  Sri Lanka Ports Authority, for a lease period of 35 years, making the project a public, private  partnership. The three parties JKH, Andani Ports and the Ports Authority will get 34, 51 and 15  percent stake respectively in the planned project and have received 180 days from May 03 for  financial closure and to start development work.  

This Terminal is expected to increase Colombo Port’s capacity by at least 3.5 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs). The South Asia Getaway Terminal run by JKH has been replacing  ship-to-store cranes with faster ones to increase output and two of these cranes would boost  capacity by 15 percent a year.  

John Keells Chairman Krishan Balendra stated that the investment will ensure continued long term exposure to the ports business of the country while also better balancing the company’s  portfolio. This project will address the long overdue need for capacity enhancement at the  Colombo Port.  

While the Development of the WCT will be carried out with investments as mentioned above,  development of the East Container Terminal will be carried out single handedly by the Sri Lanka  Ports Authority, owing to the disband of the tripartite agreement signed between India and Japan  along with the Authority, by the government.