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SLPA eyes crucial year amidst a global crisis
 

Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama at 30th Anniversary ceremony

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority is expected to gear up for a crucial year with the setting up of a mega ports projects in the country, in spite of the prevalent global financial crisis.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority held a special ceremony at the Chaithya Premises last Friday to celebrate its 30th anniversary  on August 1. 

Addressing the gathering, the Chairman of SLPA, Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama stated that following the careful study into the current financial status of the SLPA partly due to the global recession, it was decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary in an exemplary manner, without any extra and unnecessary expenditure.

He said that all who contributed greatly and with much sacrifice  towards the development of SLPA during the past 30 years are remembered on this occasion.

“Amidst this huge financial crisis the world is facing today, a crucial year exists ahead for us, where we have launched several mega port development projects. We are aiming to make a significant contribution to the overall economic development of the country,” the Chairman said. He added that the SLPA is confident that most of these projects will successfully see their completion of the relevant stages ahead of schedule during the year to come.

Despite the recession prevailing in the international arena, the Port of Colombo became the 27th among the best ports of the world last year. Hence the 30 year old Ports Authority is now reaching its middle age. It is now flexing its developmental muscle with the improvements to the ports of Colombo, Hambantota, Galle and  Oluvil,  and also with the plans to develop Trincomalee, KKS and Point Pedro. The SLPA will be a part of the mega economic boom envisaged in the future for Sri Lanka.

The SLPA ceremonially inaugurated, on December 18, 2006, its biggest infrastructure development project, the Colombo Port Expansion Project, to facilitate the increasing demand for marine traffic in the region.

The project consists of the Construction of a 5140m long Main Breakwater, 1090m long Secondary Breakwater, Diversion of Submarine Oil Pipe Line, Utility Services, Navigation Aids, etc. Hyundai Engineering Construction Co Ltd. and Consultant, Scott Wilson Ltd are working in a joint venture as the contractor of the project. The project is partly funded by the Asian Development Bank under a cost value of US$ 345million. The Asian Development Bank invests 81% of this total cost value while the SLPA invests the balance.

At present, the construction of the breakwaters, each of 940 m and 300 m in length at the Hambantota Port Development Project are nearly 65% completed, while a cofferdam enclosing the harbour basin area, facilitating excavation under dry conditions is fully completed.

Excavation of both soft and hard material inside the harbour basin is in progress and more than 25% of the total volume has already been removed. A caisson type quay wall is being constructed for both general cargo and service berths. Dredging/ blasting work of the access channel is in progress while a large land area is being improved behind the quay wall for the use of the yards.

A total of  about 35% overall progress has been achieved in the construction process of the Hambantota Port Project.

Meanwhile, under the constructions of Phase I of the Rehabilitation of the Port of Galle, a Yacht Marina - berthing facilities for 20 yachts (15m long and 3m draft), a yacht berthing facility at the South Breakwater for 30 Yachts, a services and repair facility with a workshop, a duty free shop, café and club house with WI-FI facilities, a launderette and a building with shower and toilet facilities will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 125 million.

Under the construction of Phase II additional berthing facilities for 30 Yachts, a 300m berth of 9m draft for passenger vessels, a yacht lifting facility and a car park and a dry berthing facility will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 3,175 million.

In addition, the yachts berthing facility will be extended to accommodate more yachts with the anticipated increase of yacht traffic, by the enhancement of facilities for yachts in Phase I. Improvements at the beginning of northern side of the Chinese Pier to accommodate lifting facility for yachts will also be carried out in Phase II of the project.

To form the southeastern link in the developing chain of coastal harbours in the country and to  provide more convenient and cost effective access to and from the southeastern region for goods and cargo originating on the west coast, the  SLPA implemented the Oluvil Port Project on July 1, 2008.

This project includes the construction of a commercial harbour and a basin for the fishing craft. It covers a land area of 60 ha in the first stage and 105ha in the second stage. The harbour basin will cover an area of 16 ha of the sea and will  spread 1.2 km along the coast line.

To minimise the employment problem in the region it is expected to create 1000 direct and indirect jobs by the year 2010 and another 10,000 employment opportunities by year 2015.

Cement, fertilizer and sugar industries will be introduced to the region via the new port while the fisheries industry will also be enhanced. The project is also expected to elevate  conventional cargo operations at the new port, extending to assist in a higher market to a number of regional industries.
(DM03082009)

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