Chinese presence in Sri Lanka will soon go beyond running two container terminals in Colombo port and ownership of Hambantota port on a 99 year lease. China Merchants Port Holdings Co. Ltd. (CMPort) and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) are set to sign an agreement to establish bunkering operations in Sri Lanka, following the country’s opening of its fuel market to multinationals, government newspaper Daily News has reported..
Wijesekera tweeted April 5 the cabinet has granted licenses to the three to operate 150 dealer-operated fuel stations of Ceylon Petroleum Corp each.
The Chinese state-owned company started operation at its oil depot at the Hambantota Port in 2020, Sinopec said in a press release April 9, 2020.
Daily News did not say more about the planned deal between CM Port and Sinopec. The purported agreement comes amid efforts by debt-ridden Sri Lanka to be a trading transit in the Indian Ocean, where it plans to be a “financial, maritime and services transitory point” by 2030, as stated in its development plan for the decade. Wickremesinghe affirmed that goal at a Colombo forum..
“Addressing the 30 year development plan of the Colombo North Port workshop, on Friday (21) in Colombo, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that the government’s intention is to make Sri Lanka an air and sea hub in the region”, his office said. Sri Lanka is looking at China’s “Belt and Road” global infrastructure project to promote its trading position, while also seeking to leverage its economic cooperation with India.
In yet another Sri Lankan-Chinese partnership, CM Port said it has entered a pact with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to construct a regional logistics facility in the South Asian country. CM Port said it had signed a 50-year build-operate-transfer deal with the SLPA on the same day for the project in the Colombo Port. “The project is expected to comprise the construction of a minimum of a 5-story warehouse logistics facility with a total gross floor area of approximately 466,000 square meters in two phases, covering less than container loads (LCL) operations; multi-country consolidation (MCC) operations; (bonded warehousing services; container freight station (CFS) facilities; Freeport hub operations and office space, among other services and facilities”, the announcement stated.