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Hambantota Port project to start soon

THE Government is determined to go ahead with the Hambantota Port project despite tangible pressure from various international forces that oppose the setting up of a port at this strategic location, Ports and Aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera declared yesterday.

"We are determined to complete this all-new port regardless of whoever opposes it," Minister Samaraweera told the media at a special briefing in Colombo.

The Minister observed that there were forces within and outside Sri Lanka who did not want to see a port at Hambantota, which will facilitate shipping lines using one of the busiest sea lanes in the world.

Construction is due to begin soon on the port, which many experts have contended would affect a number of regional ports.

"There are international forces who don't want that to happen. There are forces within our institutions who don't want to see a port at Hambantota," the Minister alleged.

The first phase of the project will be a bunkering system (four pipelines ) and a 10-tank farm, estimated to cost US$ 80 million. An agreement in this regard was signed in April with China's Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corporation and funding for the project will be on a Government to Government basis. The construction of the tank farm is scheduled for next month.

The Hambantota Port will eventually evolve from a ship bunkering port to a fully-fledged container port.

The Minister also disclosed that plans were underway to start the Colombo South Port Project soon. "The Colombo Port in its present form will reach saturation point in 2008. A new port is thus urgently required. We must begin construction of the new port in 2006," he said.

The proposed port will house four terminals (12 berths) and will handle the new generation of mega ships. The breakwater of the port will be developed at a cost of US$ 300 million.

It has also been suggested that the Port be managed on a Private Public Partnership basis, with a private company managing the venture under the ownership of the SLPA.

The Minister also disclosed plans for the development of the Galle Port from 2006 at a cost of US$ 200 million. The port, placed farther out from the present location, is estimated to cost US$ 140 million.

The existing port at Galle will be converted to a yacht marina.

The Trincomalee Port will also be developed, as part of an overall plan to upgrade the city's tourist facilities. The Oluvil Port will be constructed as well.

US$ 33 million is set apart for urgent repairs of the KKS harbour.

Several mega shipping lines have confirmed that they would start new services to Colombo, officials said.



 

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Sri Lanka launches new port built with Chinese loan
15 August 2010

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka flooded a new port on Sunday, built with Chinese assistance as part of a $6 billion drive to rebuild the island nation's infrastructure after a quarter century of war.

The Hambantota port, built at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion on the southern coast, will begin handling ships from November, officials said.

"This is part of making this country an emerging wonder of Asia," President Mahinda Rajapaksa said after launching the port.

Hambantota is one of four ports being built or upgraded under Rajapaksa's plan to renew the country's $42 billion economy by returning it to its old and lucrative role as a trading hub.

Built to handle 2,500 ships annually in the first stage, the new port is located along the East-West shipping lane and is ultimately meant to challenge Singapore's status as a regional shipping hub.

Sri Lanka now handles around 6,000 ships annually in its only port in Colombo on the western coast, which requires ships plying the East-West shipping lane to divert course.

Rajapaksa vowed to transform the island's economy with a series of infrastructure projects, soon after crushing a 25-year insurgency by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam last year.

"It is not sea water that will fill this port but the future prosperity of our nation. From this port will emerge our true economic independence, " he said in a speech.

China's involvement in the building of the port had raised concerns in India, but analysts said Rajapaksa had successfully handled Indian pressure. Security analysts in India worry that the port was part of Beijing's String of Pearls strategy to build a network of ports across the Indian Ocean.

Beijing has loaned over $425 million for the first phase of Hambantota project including the bunkering facility. Colombo is negotiating for a further $800 million loan for the second phase.

In addition to cargo handling, Hambantota will have a fully fledged bunkering facility and a tank farm project.

The port will operate 14 tanks with a total capacity of 80,000 MT. Eight tanks will be utilised for bunkering while six will be used for aviation fuel and LPG.

Except bunkering, all other activities including bulk cargo handling, storage facility, warehouses, transshipment have been opened for offshore investors.
 

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China Communications to build S. Lanka port expansion

COLOMBO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - China Communications Construction Company has been given an $810 million contract to build the second phase of Sri Lanka's new port, the ports authority said on Monday. Hambantota, which opened in November, is set to be Sri Lanka's biggest port once completed and give the Indian Ocean country access to traffic on one of the world's biggest East-West shipping lanes, located a few kilometres off its southern coast.

The first phase of the port was built by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), a China Communications Construction Company subsidiary, backed by a $425 million Chinese loan.

"China Harbour is doing the next phase of the project which worth $810 million," Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Wickrama told Reuters. "We have started designing and most probably we will start physical work in the next couple of week."

Construction is expected to take three years, CHEC said on its website http://www.chec.bj.cn/.

China has loaned Sri Lanka the bulk of the money to build the $1.5 billion port, which has raised suspicion from India's government that its giant rival is trying to get a strategic foothold just off its southern tip.

On Friday, Sri Lanka said it plans to open a $130 million fuel bunkering terminal with a capacity of 82,000 metric tonnes at Hambantota in May.

Hambantota is one of four ports being built or upgraded under President Mahinda Rajapaksa's plan to rejuvenate Sri Lanka's $42 billion economy by returning it to its old and lucrative role as a trading hub.
 

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Sri Lanka teams up with Chinese firm for $1.4 bln port city

COLOMBO, July 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has finalised a $1.43 billion deal with China Communications Construction Co Ltd to build a city on a 230 hectare site that will be reclaimed from the sea, the head of the state-run Ports Authority said on Wednesday.

The site is next to the island nation's main Colombo port and Colombo's historic Galle Face Green seafront. It is also close to where Shangri-La Hotels Lanka Ltd, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Shangri-La Asia Ltd, is building a 500-room hotel.

"The Chinese firm will invest in reclaiming the land and infrastructure of the port city," Priyath Wickrama, chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, told reporters. "It will be given around 50 hectare of reclaimed land on a 99-year lease for its investment."

The 39-month long construction project will start in September, Wickrama said, adding the city would include eco-parks, residential areas, offices and shopping malls.

Since the end of a nearly three-decade war in May 2009, the Indian Ocean island nation has been spending heavily on infrastructure, including ports to attract foreign investments to its $59 billion economy.

It has already created new land near the proposed port city as part of its expansion of the Colombo port to double its capacity by 2015.
 
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