Southern Shipping

Oct 20, 2008 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is to invite investments from the private sector early next year to set up business in a new port being built in the southern region. Wickrema said the SLPA will invite proposals for businesses in the port such as warehousing, and cement and fertiliser manufacture.

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SLPA acting chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrema said the government has already got inquiries from private sector investors looking for opportunities in the new Hambantota port.

Work on the project, by contractors from China, which has also given a loan to start construction, is proceeding ahead of schedule, he said.

“We have a business plan,” Wickrema said. “We plan to issue an RFP (request for proposals) in the first quarter of 2009.

“We’ve got a lot of requests from local and foreign parties.”

The government envisages operations in the new harbour will first start with the storage and sale of bunkers or fuel for shipping passing the south coast, then serve industries, and finally become a container.