Trade unions accuse “hidden entity”‘ of blocking terminal development

Trade unions have blamed a “hidden entity” for obstructing the development of the East Terminal in the Colombo Port, in a bid to loot the funds of the project.

“There are corrupt senior officials within the Sri Lanka Ports Authority who are trying to privatize operations at the East Container Terminal to occupy top positions,” Shyamal Sumanarathna, a unionist said.

In 2019, Sri Lanka had inked a Memorandum of Cooperation with Japan and India to jointly develop the terminal.

The SLPA will retain a 100 percent stake in the ownership of the terminal while the administration will be handled by a jointly owned company in which the SLPA will hold a 51 percent stake.

The Progressive Trade Union on Commerce, Industry, and Services in a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the process of placing these cranes on the terminal has been obstructed by an invisible entity.

Gantry cranes worth USD 25.7 had been procured after the subject minister at the time Mahinda Samarasinghe had obtained cabinet approval for the purchase.

Ports and shipping minister Johnston Fernando was not immediately available for comment.

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