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Hambantota to be free port

Project committee to finalize RFP process:

SLPA Chairman
Dr. Priyath, B. Wickrema

Hambantota Port Phase I Features

* Project Duration : 39 months

* Commencement Date : January 15, 2008

* Project Cost : US $ 361 million

* Design Vessel Size : 100,000 DWT

* Breakwater Lengths : West Breakwater 920m

East Breakwater 310m

* Approach Channel : 210m width at 16m depth

* Service vessel Berth : 105m long

* Oil Terminal Birth : 310m long at 16m depth

* Quay wall (General Cargo) : 600m long at 17m depth

* Administrative complex : 14 Stores with 10,400 m2 floor area

Hambantota which is an industrial port will be a free port with no tax involvements.

Users are free to use the port for loading, value addition and distribution without any taxes. “Our target is to start cargo handling operations before the end of this year with the expected investments in place”, Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama told Daily News Business.

“The free port concept will enable the port users to operate without additional charges other than port handling and rent or lease charges,” the Chairman said.

“The Hambantota Port could meet the revenue target by attracting 10 percent of the ships passing the port. Therefore, special emphasis is paid to the facilities offered by the port to make it of high standard and quality, he said.

Container handling at the Colombo Port. The Hambantota Port will help Lanka’s economy. Pictures by Saliya Rupasinghe

The Hambantota Port Phase One will be completed by end of October one year ahead of schedule. It is expected to generate 5,000 direct and 50,000 indirect job opportunities.

Youth in the Hambantota area will have openings for numerous employment avenues and it is necessary to provide them with technical training necessary for the skilled and semi skilled categories.

The Government is planning to set up a Free Trade Zone between Hambantota port and Weerawila airport. This will also generate many employment opportunities.

“We have a challenge to upgrade manpower to meet the growing demand created by the development activities in the area.

The SLPA has started its own training programs with the assistance of the NAITA and other technical colleges in the area.

However, these programs are not sufficient to train the entire workforce and we seek assistance from technical colleges in Ratnapura, Moneragala and Matara to meet the demand, Wickrama said.

Meanwhile the project committee formed two months back will complete the Request For Proposal (RFP) process and finalize the investor profile for the investment opportunities created by the Hambantota Port development activities within a month.

There will be investment opportunities in cement, fertilizer, warehousing, raw material, multi country consolidation, food processing, assembling and value addition at the port after the completion of this process.

 

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