The growth of Sri Lanka’s North Port of Colombo will be associated with India: President

The expansion of Sri Lanka’s northern port of Colombo will be mainly driven by demand from India and also from Pakistan and Iran when they become stable growth areas, said President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“We just have to remember one thing, that’s what’s going to happen in India, what’s going to be development in Pakistan and what’s going to be development in Iran,” he was quoted as saying at a forum where a 30-year port development plan was underway discussed on April 21st.

“These three will decide the capacity, the number of TUs we can have… As it is now, people have a very good prognosis for India and that is possible if it can be achieved.”

By 2050, India should have a population of 1.7 billion instead of 1.4 billion.

“India’s industrialization is progressing rapidly, especially in some areas,” he said. “One finds Gujarat, Maharashtra and others in southern India, especially in Tamil Nadu.”

“Second is Pakistan, although now like us it could be going through a financial crisis.”

Pakistan has a central bank that is doing the same thing as Sri Lanka, printing money to push interest rates down and allowing its “floating exchange rate” to collapse, critics say. Iran, which produces oil, also has a central bank that drives the country close to hyperinflation from time to time.

Sri Lanka is also discussing with India the development of the Trincomalee port in the northeast, he said.

“We are discussing the development of Trincomalee port with India on the basis that there will be tremendous development in the Bay of Bengal in the next 25 years, both on the Indian side and the Bangladeshi side, in Malaysia and even Myanmar said President Wickremesinghe.

“So we need to look at the port of Trincomalee and also its capacity to be a port of call for cruise tourism in the Bay of Bengal.”

Hambantota Port, built with Chinese funding, is now managed by CM Ports Group. A 4,000 hectare industrial area is planned. A refinery will also be built there.

“Meanwhile, remember that the Chinese are undertaking wast-to-west railroads in Africa along with African nations,” he said.

“One that will run from Kenya to the West African coast and another that will most likely run through the Congo. So all the logistics and transport in the region will change and we need to take that into account and make any adjustments that we are making now to ensure Sri Lanka becomes the hub of the Indian Ocean.”

The full statement is reproduced below:

The following is the full speech by President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Colombo North Port 30-year Development Plan Workshop on Friday (21st) at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH).

First of all I have to commend the Minister and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority for the work they have done. This ministry is now called the Ministry of Shipping and Aviation. Some people have asked me why we don’t split it up and have two ministries, one for shipping and one for aviation. I said no, our intention is to make Sri Lanka an air and sea hub. So we will have a Ministry of Shipping and Aviation. So we have to think differently and I think the minister is the best person to call the shots.

Sri Lanka needs to think about the future, what are we going to do in the next 25 years, how are we going to make it a developed country. We need to look at developments in India, Pakistan, Iran and across the Makran coast to assess the role Sri Lanka has to play as a major hub.

So, in addition to Colombo, we have the Port of Galle, which has great tourism potential, the Port of Hambantota and the Port of Trincomalee.

With the Port of Trincomalee, we are discussing with India the development of the Port of Trincomalee on the basis that there will be tremendous development in the Bay of Bengal in the next 25 years, both on the Indian side and on the Bangladeshi side, in Malaysia and even Burma. So we need to look at the port of Trincomalee and also its ability to be a port of call for cruise tourism in the Bay of Bengal.

In Hambantota, the port is not currently running at full capacity, but the development in Hambantota in the next 10 to 15 years, where about 4000 acres will be reserved for production only, without considering the development of agriculture and fisheries. That means there will be at least one refinery, suggesting activity there will increase.

We have the airports that we are developing. Katunayake Airport, which needs to be developed, Mattala Airport, which needs to be economically viable.

Then, with these two airports, we have just opened Palali and the development of Hingurakgoda as the main domestic airport for the East Region and North Central Province.

The north port must therefore play a role in this. We now have to think about how the development should look like.

The SLPA and the consultants gave us a report on the feasibility of the north port. We just have to remember one thing, what will happen in India, what will be the development in Pakistan and what will be the development in Iran.

These three decide the capacity, the number of TUs we can have, the number of containers, the units we have would depend on it. As it is now, people have a very good prognosis for India and that is possible if it can be achieved.

By 2050, India will be the most populous country in the world, from 1.4 billion to 1.7 billion people. India’s industrialization is progressing rapidly, especially in some areas. You can find Gujarat, Maharashtra and others in southern India, especially in Tamil Nadu.
But this is the beginning. From there it will spread to other areas. So now the industrialization of manufacturing is taking place in India.

It still hasn’t reached the level that China reached anywhere in 2010. It still has to go there. If anything, at some point there will no longer be arithmetic but geometric advances.

So we will have the development in India. Then what is the connectivity that will take place between India and Sri Lanka? Our next point is to the north. Will we play a role in the role of ferries? Will we have more permanent structures?

These are problems that we must solve and that will also determine the viability of our ports, especially the port of Colombo. So when I look at the port, only two problems come to mind.

First up is the environment, particularly the impact on fisheries, which we need to take seriously. Because before you start building, you have to get the support of the people in the area.

Secondly, we are also discussing with India. But in the end, the forecasts show that the development will be rapid and there will be more demand, certainly a larger capacity for containers.

Then maybe we need to make adjustments so we know we’re going to go to India and have talks with them. So we will have an idea of ​​what is the low growth scenario and what is the high growth scenario and where and where it will take place. Because India also needs to develop its port, but Sri Lanka’s advantage is the port that we have.

In second place is Pakistan, which, if you look at the population, has great potential for development, even if it may go through a financial crisis like ours in the foreseeable future, followed by Iran. And if Iran proceeds with the Chabahar port, which will link up with Central Asia and Russia, then the Makran coast itself is something to behold. So these are all areas where we need to think about development.

Meanwhile, remember that the Chinese are undertaking east-west railways in Africa along with African nations. One that will run from Kenya to the West African coast and another that will most likely run through the Congo. So all the logistics and transport in the region will change and we need to take that into account and make any adjustments we are making now to ensure Sri Lanka becomes the hub of the Indian Ocean.

We can do it, we should do it, and we did it over a thousand years ago. I’m sure we decide, go ahead. So I have to thank the Minister for the effort he has put in and we can also start discussing what the next steps should be.

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