Multi Million Dollars Worth Of Iranian Transformers Stagnating At Colombo Port
- US sanctions on Iran
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Over 100 containers carrying transformers imported from Iran under an Iranian loan for the Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB’s) rural electrification programme are stuck at the Colombo Port due to the sanctions imposed by the US on Iran.
The CEB had imported 1,000 transformers from Iran since last December but succeeded in clearing only 250 of them.
The last shipment of transformers from Iran arrived at the Colombo Port in April this year. However, the CEB had not been able to clear any transformers for the past few months.
Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said that there are still 750 transformers remaining in the Port to be cleared.
Each transformer costs US$ 4,200. Therefore, the 750 transformers stagnating in the Colombo Port for over two months costs US$ 3.15 million.
According to the Minister, the CEB has placed an international order for 4,500 transformers and 1,000 had been ordered from Iran.
A senior Power and Energy Ministry official explained that the transformers have been imported on a loan from the Export Development Bank from Iran.
“The government of Sri Lanka has allocated 25 percent of the funds to import the transformers while the Iranian government is providing a loan to cover the remaining 75 percent,” the official said. The entire project to import transformers is to cost US$ 106 million.
The Power and Energy Ministry states that the reason for the delay in clearing the Iranian transformers is due to a problem faced by the supplier of the transformers, Messers Sunir Company of Iran, to get the required fund transfer as a result of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the US.
When asked about the loss incurred by the CEB due to the delay in clearing the transformers, the Ministry official said the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has agreed to waive demurrage charges on the 150 containers.
“The delay in clearing the transformers has caused a delay in the completion of the rural electrification programme launched by the CEB,” he observed.
The government meanwhile is now trying to look at other sources of funding to get the transformers cleared from the Port.