Pitt Stop

Sri Lanka will build a bunkering port in the island’s remote southern tip to service international shipping, the ports and aviation minister said Thursday. Sri Lanka will build a bunkering port in the island’s remote southern tip to service international shipping, the ports and aviation minister said Thursday. Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the government was determined to go ahead with the 75-80 million dollar port at Hambantota funded by China despite attempts by unidentified “international forces” to scuttle the project.

“Powerful international forces are not happy about this and are keen that we don’t go beyond the stage of discussing about this,” the minister told reporters.

Officials said the government entered into an agreement with China’s Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corporation to develop Hambantota as an oil storage and bunkering facility.

It is estimated that at least 100 ships daily ply the route between the Far East and the Gulf, passing Hambantota. Only a hand full currently make the half-day detour to the Colombo harbour on the island’s west coast.

The minister said competing ports in the region were unhappy