Rock Row

Nov 30, 2011 (LBO) – Chinese contractors building a new port in southern Sri Lanka have finished blasting and clearing a rock blocking the entrance channel whose discovery after construction began had sent the project cost up sharply. The additional blasting and dredging required to clear the rock at the Hambantota port, which was officially opened in November 2010, had been delayed by the monsoon.

The extent of the rock at the entrance was underestimated during initial surveys and the extra requirement for expensive underwater blasting and dredging raised the basin excavation and channel dredging costs by almost half.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman Priyath Wickrama said the rock had now been cleared.

“Today no one is talking of the rock that was supposed to be blocking the entrance channel,” Wickrama told a meeting of the import section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“We have completed the dredging work. Now there is no rock at all.”

Hambantota port is being built by a consortium consisting of China Harbour Engineering Corporation and Sinohydro Corporation and funded with Chinese government loans at commercial lending rates.

The government came under heavy criticism for the late discovery of th