New Delhi: India, Sri Lanka and Japan will be developing the East Container Terminal (ECT) in Colombo south port. All the 3 countries officially signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) in the capital Colombo with India being represented by its high commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

A release from the Sri Lankan Port Authority (SLPA) said, “The three governments will work out details based on the MOC at joint working group meetings, and advance their cooperation towards early commencement of work and operation of the ECT.”

While SLPA retains 100% ownership of East Container Terminal (ECT), the Terminal Operations Company (TOC) conducting all East Container Terminal operations is jointly owned. Sri Lanka will have a 51% stake of the Terminal Operations Company, the joint venture partners will hold a 49% stake.

The release of the Port Authority said, ” The 51% stake is also one of the best in SLPA joint ownership endeavours” with “SLPA’s majority ownership in the new TOC represents a significant step in prioritizing National Interests.”

Remember around 70% of Colombo Port’s trans-shipment business is India-related.

Tuesday’s development comes even as China has been trying to increase its influence in south asia especially with the development of ports like Gwadar in Pakistan & Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. In 2017, unable to pay its debts, Sri Lanka handed over the Hambantota to China for a 99 year period lease.

(With inputs from Sidhant Sibal, Zee Media)