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Sri Lanka to purchase vessels worth $70m from China

Sri Lanka to purchase vessels worth $70m from China

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka plans to purchase two cargo vessels at a cost of $70 million from a Chinese company to rejuvenate the oldest state-run shipping company, an official said on Wednesday.

The Sri Lankan cabinet has approved a proposal put forward by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the minister of highways, ports and shipping, to purchase two bulk carriers for the Ceylon Shipping Corporation Ltd. (CSCL).

The purchase of the two ships was recommended by the Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee (CANC). The cabinet authorised the government to instruct the director general of the department of external resources to finalise formalities of loan arrangements to purchase the ships.

The two 64,000-tonne bulk carriers will be purchased from China at a cost of $70 million, cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.

The ships will also be used to train Sri Lankan crew, the minister added. “We will use these two ships to revive the shipping corporation as well as increase the training of our seamen, who are in great demand overseas,” he noted.

The two Chinese vessels are to be delivered within two years. CSCL is a reputed shipping agency in Sri Lanka and engages in import and export trade.

The government appointed Sri Lanka Navy commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage as the new chairman of Ceylon Shipping Corporation in October 2013.