The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has extended the deadline for bids for the first container terminal in the new South Port of Colombo, work on which is now underway, officials said.
"We extended the deadlines because there were few requests made by bidders," a senior SLPA official said.
The last date for issuing bid documents has been extended till May 15 while the closing date for submitting proposals to build and operate the terminal has been extended to June 16, the official said. The last date for bidders to seek clarifications is May 18, an official told Daily News Business.
Fourteen potential investors, including shipping lines and port operators, had collected bid documents before the original date for collecting documents.
The parties who have collected bid documents so far include Maersk, the world's biggest shipping line, APL, another global shipping line, Hutchison Port Holdings, a big global port terminal operator based in Hong Kong, and China Merchant Shipping, another Chinese Hong Kong terminal operator.
Sri Lanka's top three conglomerates John Keells Holdings, Hayleys, Aitken Spence and Hemas have also collected bid documents.
The new port will help Colombo retain and enhance its position as a transshipment hub for the south Asian region.
Others are Gulftainer, a port operator based in Sharjah in the UAE, South Asia Gateway Terminals, which operates Colombo's private container terminal, and China Harbour Engineering Company, which is already building a port in the island's south.
Asian Development Bank, which is funding the breakwater construction and dredging of the new port, and Standard Chartered Bank, were among the other parties who have collected bid documents, officials said.
Construction work on the breakwater and dredging of the new harbour basin next to the existing port in Colombo is underway.