Scott Wilson, the planning and engineering consultant, has signed a £6m contract with the Ministry of Port Development and Shipping in Sri Lanka to develop the port of Colombo over the next 20 years.
The South Harbour Development will create a harbour outside the existing one, with an eventual depth of 23 m. Twelve berths will be designed and developed in phases to meet growth in traffic.

Don Wootton, a director of Scott Wilson, said he was delighted to be awarded the contract "on technical merit in the face of stiff international competition. Many hub ports can claim to be strategically located but few can rival Colombo's undisputed position," he said.

Colombo is midway between Asia Pacific and the Mediterranean and is adjacent to the main shipping lanes serving East Asia, North Europe and North-east America.

The terminals will be privately operated and built using private funds. Among Scott Wilson's duties in the development will be to review and advise changes to the current port legislation, finalise the masterplanning and engineering, and provide a "robust and bankable business plan for the phased development".