Southern Harbour

March 12, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Monday signed up two Chinese firms to build the proposed Hambantota Port in Southern Sri Lanka, with financing expected from the Chinese government.

SLPA hopes the project will provide 6,000 direct employment and 50,000 indirect employment opportunities in the area, with nearby Matara, Ratnapura and Monaragala districts will also benefiting from the port project. The agreements with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited and Syno Hydro Corporation Limited to build the 450 million dollar port were signed Monday.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority says details designs have already have been completed after a memorandum of understanding was signed with the two firms last October.

In the first phase, a 600 metre jetty for conventional shipments and a 300 metre jetty for oil terminals will be constructed, SLPA Vice Chairman Priyath Wickrama told reporters.

The total cost for the first phase is estimated to be 450 million dollars where 85 percent of it will be provided by the Chinese government under a loan scheme, which SLPA is hoping to sign in the future.

“The Chinese side has assured it would encourage and facilitate financial institu