Sri Lanka envisions being a premier shipping hub in South Asia in the 21st century. To do so, they took steps to build a new terminal with deeper berths, latest terminal equipment and increased efficiency. This will enable larger ships to dock and transfer cargo more quickly, and support Sri Lanka’s aim to become as a significant shipping hub in the region and meet the rising cargo demand.

Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd. has signed a 35-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement with Sri Lanka Ports Authority for development, construction and operation of the South Container Terminal of the Port of Colombo Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd. appointed AECOM as the consulting engineer, in a joint venture with China Merchants of Hong Kong and Aitken Spencer of Sri Lanka, to provide engineering consultancy services for the development, design and construction supervision of the terminal.

The terminal development comprises a 1,200-meter long container berth designed for 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) vessels with approximately 58 hectares of terminal area and three to four berths. The works comprise the following:
• 1,200-meter long container quay with a minimum alongside water depth of 18-meter low water of ordinary spring tides (LWOST) including all quay furniture and installations for gantry cranes;
• Dredging the harbor basin to a minimum depth of 18-meter LWOST, with the dredging volume of approximately eight million cubic meters;
• Reclaiming approximately 58 hectares of terminal area and immediately adjacent land using dredged materials;
• Ground improvement of reclaimed areas using vibro-compaction and dynamic compaction;
• Shore revetments to retain and protect the reclaimed areas, including relocation and incorporation of existing rockfill; and
• Other infrastructure works including container yard, building, roads and paving, security and utility services.

Over 20-meter high, 14-meter wide concrete caisson quay walls is designed to support the 1200-meter long container quay structure. Due to the size of the caisson walls, the team delivered solutions for the geotechnical challenges such as founding and settlement control. In addition, AECOM has also provided geotechnical advice on seismic assessment for both the liquefiable granular soils and cyclic softening of the base marine deposits under design earthquake conditions.