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Sunday, October 20, 2019
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 Second phase of H’tota port on schedule
 

Mr. Agil Hewageegana

The second phase of the Hambantota port project is scheduled to commence next month with dredging on the last stretch currently in progress.

Ports and shipping experts are sceptical about the success of the project due to lack of marketing and a sound supply chain which are vital to position the new port on the global shipping map.

Chief Engineer, Southern Ports Development Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Agil Hewageegana said work on the port is in progress and is well ahead of meeting the deadline for the completion of the first phase.

“Around 40,000 cubic metres have to be dredged and we hope to complete work by early April”, Hewageegana said.

According to the contract agreement the first stage of the port has to be completed by April 15, 2011. The project is funded by the China Exim Bank and the contractor is China Harbour Engineering Company.

“Currently dredges are being fixed to commence work in the Karagam lagoon. Dredging will commence in two weeks time” the chief engineer said.

The first phase which is estimated at US$ 361 million will comprise four berths and at the completion of the second stage another five berths will be added enabling larger vessels to anchor. SLPA officials said that there are no evaluations made regarding the third and fourth stages of the port.

The new port which is a service and industrial port is expected to give a complete facelift to the economy of Hambantota, one of the lowest per capita income regions in the country.

The new port which would be the largest port in the country after the port of Colombo will provide bunkering, ship repair and building and crew exchange facilities.

The port will also provide commercial and a host of entertainment to sea-farers.

Work on the first phase of the project commenced on January 15, 2008 and the duration of the project is 39 months.

The first vessel was ceremonially berthed at the port on November 18, 2010. Experts believe that since the maximum draft Colombo is about 10m for cargo vessels, manufacturers may show interest in Hambantota to take advantage of economies of scale.

The Hambantota port has a distinct advantage over many ports in the region due to its strategic location along the east-west shipping route.

Later phases will increase capacity of the port up to 20 million TEUs a year.
(SO-27022011)

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