Southern Port

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (L) and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe gesture as Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake (unseen) presents a supplementary budget to parliament, marking the first economic policy statement of the new government which came to power earlier in the month in Colombo on January 29, 2015. Sri Lanka's new government announced hefty taxes on top companies in a bid to raise revenue, accusing the previous regime of fudging the figures and leaving the economy in a "sad state". AFP PHOTO / Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Nov 18, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s new Chinese built port in the Southern city of Hambantota was formally commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday with the symbolic entry of a converted troopship. Rajapksa said in the second century, under then King Gajaba, there had been a port in the area called Godpabbatha which had traded with China and Arabia.

A stone inscription had been found in nearby Godawaya Temple which indicated that a part of the revenues of the old port had been given to the temple.

“I am requesting the President to set aside a part of the revenue of the port for places of religious worship in Hambantota, Moneragala and inscribe it in stone,” Speaker Rajapaksa said.

President Rajapaksa is due to take oaths for his second term tomorrow, after winning elections in January.

The 361 million US dollar port will initially be used to supply bunkers to the main east-west shipping route passing Sri Lanka.

The government is also promoting port related industries including, refineries, vehicle assembly, fertilizer packaging and entrepot trade at the port.

“I call upon and invite investors both local and foreign to help make this area into a trade zone like it was