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 Rs 7.5 b Oluvil Port to be Eastern fisheries hub

The Oluvil port under construction

The Rs 7.5 billion (Euro 48 million) Oluvil Port will be commissioned in September, making it the main fisheries harbour in Sri Lanka. It will add value to the fishing industry and export revenue.

The Oluvil Port will be the only port which will be a fisheries port in the country and it will create a hub for all international trawlers as a base to unload their fresh fish which will be processed for export for Japanese, Chinese and other Asian markets, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrema told Daily News Business yesterday.

The reason for the government decision to develop the Oluvil port was due to these international trawlers which fish in the Indian Ocean and international waters which hitherto were using Colombo and Galle ports which has no room. “They will be using Oluvil as a base for their processing of value added fish and we will provide the infrastructure for them for the purpose,” the SLPA Chairman said.

The trawlers which will be docking in the Oluvil port built under the Negenahira Navodaya program, will be larger than the present ones in Sri Lanka and will be between 50 and 100 metres. “A percentage of the output will also be fed into the local market as well,” he said.

The SLPA will be providing support services in terms of the cold rooms and other processing facilities where there are two cold rooms which could process 500 tonnes daily which will be processed, frozen and exported to international markets.

The SLPA has completed the basic infrastructure in terms of the buildings and other structures and what has to be completed was the breakwater head.

The infrastructure will be able to accommodate trawlers which are larger than the conventional ones and will be between 50 to 100 metres long.

These trawler owners which are all based overseas operate through a network of agents who are based in Sri Lanka. The project will also generate over 300 direct employment opportunities while there will also be more than 1,000 indirect employment opportunities as well. In addition to international markets which will make use of the facility, there will also be the opportunity for the local fishermen and those associated with the industry who would have the opportunity to do so, which would dramatically improve the industry and value addition to the area in terms of employment and revenue generation.

Ceylon Fisheries Corporation Chairman Mahil Senaratne said fisheries in the Eastern Province has increased since the completion of the war but there was room for improvement.

“We are now catching only 25 to 30 tonnes per month and we are making arrangements to increase it. There will also be a network of agents of the corporation with the marketing staff of the Corporation who will network to increase the output, making use of the infrastructure of the Oluvil port,” he said.

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