Scheduled to be completed by July 2022, the Phase Five of the JCT includes an investment of $ 32 million. The consultancy for the project is to be provided by SLPA Contract and Planning Engineering Division, while the construction company for the project is China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC). Upon the completion of construction, a new yard area of 40,000 square meters (about four hectares) will also be added to the JCT.
The initiative, described by the Government as a new chapter to the history of country’s ports and shipping industry, was held under the patronage of Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena, State Minister of Warehouse Facilities, Container Yards, Port Supply Facilities and Boats and Shipping Industry Development Jayantha Samaraweera and SLPA Chairman Major General (Retd.) Daya Ratnayake.
Minister Abeygunawardena said that the JCT Phase Five was a project initiated by the previous Government, but it was his responsibility to act and implement as the current Minister-in-charge.
“Although the construction of Phase Five of the terminal was supposed to be completed first, the previous Government had stopped it by giving priority to the import of gantry cranes. However, the construction of the Phase Five of the terminal has commenced due to the arrival of the imported cranes,” he said.
He added that despite the protests over the construction of the breakwater for the Colombo South Port and the construction of the Colombo International Terminal (CICT), none of those new projects would have been launched if the breakwater had not been constructed.
The Minister also stressed that the Port of Colombo will be a more efficient port in the future with complete construction and commissioning of the East Container Terminal (ECT) as well as the West Container Terminal (WCT). “These will lead Sri Lanka becoming the maritime hub of Asia,” he added.
He stated that as the Minister-in-charge, he is responsible to attract foreign exchange into the country by developing the Port of Colombo as an economic hub, realising the “Vision of Prosperity” policy document outlined by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Development of the JCT commenced in March 1983 and the first phase of the terminal was opened in 1985, the second in 1987, the third phase in 1995 and the fourth phase in 1996.
State Minister of Warehouse Facilities, Container Yards, Port Supply Facilities and Boats and Shipping Industry Development Jayantha Samaraweera said that the era of damage caused by the Port of Hambantota had ended, and a new era of port development had begun with the implementation of Phase Five of JCT.
SLPA Chairman Ratnayake said that the golden era of the port and shipping industry in Sri Lanka existed from 2005 to 2014 and that it would recommence with the construction of Phase Five of JCT.
The construction of Phase Five of the JCT will add a number of advantages to operations of SLPA and the Port of Colombo.
The length of the Phase Five terminal will avoid obstacles at the edge of JCT Phase Four when providing anchorage facilities for ships currently with 366 meters in length. Accordingly, the additional length of 120 meters that would be added by the construction of Phase Five will result in an efficient and effective operation of vessels at the JCT.