Hambanthota Port Project

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  • Topic: Sri Lanka, Colombo, Tamil people
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  • Published : November 5, 2010
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Hambanthota (Southern) port
Hambanthota which is situated along the6° 7′ 10″ N, 81° 6′ 29″ E coordinates has been operated as a port since 250BC.’ Sri Lanka is situated along the key shipping route between the Malacca Straits and the Suez Canal, which links Asia and Europe. An estimated 36,000 ships, including 4,500 oil tankers, use the route annually. However the only major port in Sri Lanka, the Port of Colombo is catered towards container handling and is unable to provide facilities for port related industries and services. Therefore a new port was proposed near the city of Hambantota, which has a natural harbor and is located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka close to international shipping routes.’(Port of Hambanthota, Wekipedia, 17 July 2010 at 16:02). ‘The Hambantota Port Development Project was initiated a few years ago following several studies to assess its viability. Initially, Ms. SNC Lavalin International of Canada undertook a preliminary study in 2003. In 2005, the master plan for the Hambantota Port project was completed by Ms Ramboll of Denmark’ (Hambanthota port a big boost for industries, Jayampathy Jayasingha, 27 June 2010).

The government of Sri Lanka has planned to develop the Hambanthota port, as an alternative to the Colombo port. This was proposed almost three decades before but the project is started to develop on March 12, 2007 after signing the agreement between Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Chinese government. The project is a long term one which envisages 15 years of development and Hambantota will eventually house a Liquefied natural gas refinery, aviation fuel storage facilities, three separate docks giving the port a transshipment capacity and dry docks which will allow ship repair and even construction to be undertaken in Sri Lanka (Hambantota Port: A New Dawn For The South, Savan Wijewardena, November, 2008). After the total completion of the project Hambanthota port will be the largest port in South Asian region.

Total estimated cost and investors
Total estimated cost for the first phase is $360 million. 85% of the funds provided by the Chinese government and remaining 15% funded by the SLPA (Sri Lankan government). China Harbor Engineering Company and Sino Hydro Corporation are the main companies which construct the Hambanthota port.

The second phase of the project is estimated as $600 million will be completed by 2014. Cost of the third and fourth phases of the project are not yet estimated. Time span for the total project

The project was started 15th January 2008 and estimated time period for the first phase is 39 months. After the completion of the first phase, second phase of the project will be started by 2011. Expected employment

According to the Deputy Chairman of the SLPA Mr. Priyath B Wickrama after the completion of this project there will be 6000 direct new job opportunities and 50,000 to 100,000 indirect employment oppurtunities.’ A large number of these openings were for skilled workers who were lacking in this area. Therefore, steps were being taken to train people in the required skills at special vocational training centers, so that the skilled workforce will be available when the port begins functioning’ (Hambantota - the new hub of development Monday, March 12, 2007 - 09.30 GMT). 

Progress have made so far
First phase of the development project is expected to complete by April, 2011. Already an agreement has signed by the SLPA with China Harbor Engineering Company Limited and Sino Hydro Corporation Limited. The environmental impact assessment with regard to the construction work of the harbor and the progress report for the second phase has been submitted to the Government by the Rambol institute. SLPA start the port operations in this November and...
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