Southern Investment

June 29, 2009 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government wants to attract investments for ship building, and cement and fertilizer manufacturing at a new port being built in southern Hambantota, a senior official said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority chairman Priyath Wickrama said construction work on the harbour, less than half-an-hour’s deviation from the main shipping route across the Indian Ocean, is ahead of schedule.

The first vessel is expected to be berthed in Hambantota by December 2010, Wickrama told the annual general meeting of the Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders’ Association.

The SLPA has a business plan to develop the new port which the government is also hoping to use to revive the economy of the long-neglected southern region.

“We want to lease out space for shipyards, cement and fertiliser plants, warehousing, and vehicle transshipment,” Wickrama said.

The SLPA is also planning to have a liquid petroleum gas facility at the new port.

“We’re going to introduce another LPG supplier.”

The port project is being largely funded by a Chinese government loan and construction work is being done by a Chinese company.

Wickrama said that 600 metres of quay will be built for multipurpos