The Port in Hambantota is now becoming a major economic center that has ensured the ushering of socio-economic prosperity from the South to the whole of Sri Lanka in the future by becoming the largest vehicle transshipment hub in the region, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama told the Daily News Business.
He said that port was able to handle more than 41,000 transshipment units for the first quarter of this year, which was a great achievement for the port to handle this amount of units within a short period.
Majority of the vehicle importers are of the view that this move has helped facilitate faster clearance while bringing in cost savings in their operational overheads. By the end of this year, the number of vehicle transshipment units will go up to 100,000 units, Dr Wickrama said.
The proactive measure is a tremendous boost in terms of commercial viability and this will have positive impact on socio development in the Hambantota area, he said. The Port activities are carried out in a conducive environment at the port and will supplement the overall economic development of the country, he said.
According to a report by development.lk, Dr Wickrama said the bunkering operation is the only part of the port not open to external investment. He said China Exim Bank has loaned US$ 77 million toward the cost of the terminal, which the Ports Authority will operate. China has loaned Sri Lanka the bulk of the money to build the US$ 1.5 billion port, he added.
According to the Chairman, China will finance the expansion of the Hambantota Port and the first phase too was financed by China. It has been positioned as an industrial port with facilities to transship vehicles and also provide bunkering services.
The Hambantota Port, opened in November 2010, is set to be Sri Lanka’s biggest port once the second phase is completed and will provide access to traffic on one of the world’s busiest East-West shipping lanes, located a few kilometres off its southern coast, the Ports Authority Chairman said.