Investor influx for ports - H’tota gets lucky
* Fortune 500 car
manufacturer in H’tota
* Sri Lanka’s location
a big plus point
Hordes of foreign and local investors have expressed their desire to
invest in port related ventures surrounding the Colombo and Hambantota
Mahinda Rajapaksa ports, Ports and Highways Deputy Minister Rohitha
Three such ventures are to commence business in the near future,
probably within the next few months since the construction of these
three enterprises are in their final stages.
Accordingly, construction of processing plants of sugar, fertilizer
and petroleum cum chemicals are nearing completion at the Hambantota
Mahinda Rajapaksa harbour premises.
Meanwhile, China’s number three car manufacturer Geely will establish
an assembly and manufacturing plant in Hambantota. Geely entered the
Fortune Global 500 list at 475 last July and is considered as one of
China’s fastest growing car makers. Apart from China, it also has
production bases in Russia, Ukraine and Egypt.
According to Geely Director Martin Xiang Sri Lanka has become a key
market but more importantly, a manufacturing hub in South Asia for
automobile manufacturers. He has also said that initially they are
considering an assembly line with US Dollars 20 million in shared
investment with Micro Cars Limited. The establishment of the factory
will start in the middle of next year. The first phase to be completed
by the end of 2014 and the first car will be rolled-out in January 2015.
He said that Sri Lanka’s advantages and attractive location on the
main East-West shipping route convinced them to invest in Sri Lanka. The
new harbour in Hambantota will be geared to support international and
domestic sea cargo transshipment. In conjunction with the Hambantota
Airport, the harbour will perform as air-sea cargo transshipment hub.
Moreover, the harbour will also be an alternative to the Colombo
International harbour, which was the only international harbour in the
country prior to commissioning of the Mahinda Rajapaksa port , the
deputy minister said.
Investors are attracted to Sri Lanka because of several key
advantages such as location, low operation cost, enthusiastic and
motivated labour force etc. Besides, easy access to South Asia and many
other regions, the open economy and literate labour force are among its
strategic advantages. “Many foreign investors have noted that Sri
Lanka’s advantages make it a strong contender to be developed as an
air-sea cargo transshipment hub. Considering this situation the Ports
and Highways Ministry took steps to declare the Hambantota Mahinda
Rajapkasa harbour as a free port,” Deputy Minister Abeygunawardena said.