Maritime Stakes

May 24, 2007 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is to start construction work on the planned new deep-water port in Hambantota on the island’s south coast in the first week of June, officials said. The first phase of the project is to be completed in three years and three months, SLPA vice chairman R M P B Wickrema told a news conference Thursday.

The SLPA has already signed a contract with a Chinese company while China is giving a loan to help fund the project.

The new Hambantota port is to be built inland, in the Karagan Levaya lagoon, avoiding the need to build expensive breakwaters.

A lot of the design work has been done by Sri Lankan experts.

The first stage of the project – two small breakwaters and two cargo terminals, one for containers and the other for oil and gas – would cost 360 million dollars.

By way of comparison, the breakwater for the new South Port next to Colombo would cost some 400 million dollars, Wickrema said.

The government plans to acquire 1,115 hectares of land in Hambantota for the project, which would displace 450 families who would be paid compensation.

The planned Hambantota port is being designed to have a draft of 16 metres in t