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Hambantota port project update

Colombo: The first stage of the Hambantota port project will be completed by the end of next year.
A 310-metre long bunkering terminal, a 600-m quay wall for general cargo will be constructed with a 16-m deep basin and entrance channel under the first stage of the project. In addition, ship repair facilities, custom and immigration services too would be offered to attract tourists on cruises.
The first stage is estimated to cost over Rs. 37 billion (US $ 360 million). China Harbour Engineering Company and Sino Hydro Corporation are in charge of the construction while 85 per cent of the funding is from Ex-Im Bank of China.

When completed the port will provide directly 6,000 jobs and 50,000 - 100,000 indirect employment. The port will handle 20 million teu per year on completion of the final phase.

Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama said that they want to provide facilities that are not offered in Colombo. "We are not looking at a repeat of the Colombo Port in Hambantota which makes the project even more viable. A new port is needed because Colombo lacks facilities to expand," he said.

Wickrema said the government decided to set up the port in Hambantota because of its proximity to the shipping lane - being just six nautical miles from the main East-West trade route across the Indian Ocean.

"Over 200 ships sail this route and we want to attract them," he said. He said that one of the unique features of the port is that it is build inland which has reduced the cost to a great extent and allows future expansion.

The prime objective in launching the Hambantota Port Development project is to match different aspects of development such as trans-shipment, bunkering, ship building, handling of large scale fuel products and increased bunkering.  [23/03/09]


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