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Trincomalee Port of Sri Lanka

  • 03 Jun 2022
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: Trincomalee port, Special Economic Zone, Hambantota port

For Mains: Issues and Challenges of India - Sri Lanka relationship, Developments in the Indian Ocean Region, Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India's Interests

Why in News?

Sri Lanka plans to develop Trincomalee port into an industrial hub that would spark global interest.

  • The proposal is a long-standing plan to monetise land that belongs to the Sri Lanka Port Authority, by getting foreign and local investment for a special economic zone, an industrial park, or an energy hub.

What are the Key Highlights?

  • About Trincomalee Port:
    • Trincomalee harbour is on the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka. It is situated on a peninsula in Trincomalee Bay—formerly called Koddiyar Bay.
    • Trincomalee is the nearest port to Chennai, India.
  • Significance of the Port:
    • Geopolitical and Strategic Significance: The location of this port in Indian ocean has strategic significance, it has been of interest to several countries, including India, Japan and the US.
    • Dedicated Port Terminal: Trincomalee already has several dedicated port terminals —it has Lanka Indian Oil Company facility, Tokyo Cement facility, and grain facility for a flour factory, and a tea terminal.
      • There is also a jetty for bulk cargo such as coal, gypsum and cement.
    • Decongest Other Ports: This development will decongest and help in offloading operations at Colombo Port which will increase the supply chain.
    • Non-Containerised Cargo Traffic: This would also entail the development of the port for non-containerised cargo traffic, such as cement, coal or other industrial raw material.

What does the deal mean for India?

  • Natural Harbour: It offers one of Asia’s finest natural harbours which India will benefit from.
  • Balance China’s influence: This port will serve as a way to balance China’s influence in the Indian Ocean Region. China already has access to Hambantota Port, so Trincomalee port is important for India.
  • Maritime Trade Routes: If Indian companies engage in this development, it will enhance Indian maritime trade routes in the region.
    • Earlier this year, Lanka Indian Oil Company and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation signed an agreement to develop a massive oil storage tank farm built during British rule at Trincomalee. This agreement will benefit from this deal.

Way Forward

  • Trincomalee port with its key benefits of natural deep-water, shelter, unique tourist places and ample land for industrial and logistics in the proximity of the port was ideally placed to service the projected growth of maritime cargo trade in the region, especially regarding the development of ports in Bangladesh and Myanmar and on India’s eastern sea board.
  • A Trincomalee port joint project with India will make sense in terms of Sri Lanka's domestic ethnic considerations.
  • If the project is successful then it will help Sri Lanka from Debt Trap of China.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following pairs: (2018)

Regions sometimes - Country 
mentioned in news

  1. Catalonia — Spain
  2. Crimea — Hungary
  3. Mindanao — Philippines
  4. Oromia — Nigeria

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) 1, 2 and 3
(b) 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 2 and 4 only

Ans: (c)


  • Catalonia is in Spain. It is an autonomous region in North-east Spain with a distinct history dating back almost 1,000 years. It initiated a referendum for independence from Spain in October 2017 and unilaterally declared independence. Hence, pair 1 is correctly matched.
  • Crimea was a Ukranian territory which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Hence, pair 2 is not correctly matched.
  • Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippines. Hundreds of pro-Islamic State militants seized parts of the predominantly Islamic city of Marawi in Mindanao in May 2017. Hence, pair 3 is correctly matched.
  • Oromia region is inhabited primarily by the Oromo ethnic group, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. There were clashes between Oromo and Somali ethnic groups in December 2016 following territorial disputes between the two communities in Ethiopia. Hence, pair 4 is not correctly matched.
  • Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Source: IE

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