President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared opened the US$ 500 million Colombo South Port this (5) morning.
This new expansion to the existing Port of Colombo, located mid-way on the sea has world class facilities and with its 18-metre draft, can handle even the biggest Triple-E Class vessels carrying 18,000 containers.
President Rajapaksa speaking at the occasion said the current development which is a good example of the government's work with the private sector, is for the next generation.
The US$ 500 million project was launched in 2006 to cater for the increasing demands of services in the international shipping industry.
The port built with a partnership between the government and China Merchant Holdings International is designed to handle mega ships over 18,000, 20-foot container capacity.
The facilities at the new port will make it the only port in South Asia with deep water terminal for the mega container ships.
The new breakwater has a depth of 18 meters, compared to the previous 14 to 15 meters, enabling it to handle bigger cargo ships that require deeper docking berths.
The main terminal was built by the private sector and the all three terminals each having 1200m length and facilities to accommodate 3 berths alongside of the port can handle 75 million TEU per year, says the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority Priyath Bandu Wickrama.
Only the South terminal was declared open today and the East terminal will be ready for operation in 2014, says Ports Authority Chairman. All construction activities are expected to be completed by the year 2020.
Under the Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP) 10,000 direct and 15,000 indirect employment opportunities have been created, the government says.
The CPEP allows Sri Lanka to meet increasing demands of services in the international shipping industry in the Indian Ocean. The Colombo port, situated on a major shipping route between east and west, is a major port in the Asian region.
The general public will be allowed to visit the Colombo South harbor from August 8 -13.