Several local and foreign investors have responded positively to invest in the proposed artificial island that is being built in Hambantota. Several hotels, restaurants, duty-free shopping malls, recreational and tourism facilities are proposed to be built at this artificial island.
The Hambantota Port, Ports Authority Southern Port Development Director P. A. Agil Hewageegana said that these are mainly for the leisure sector. The rock and soil unearthed from the second phase of the construction of the seaport, is being used to fill the sea to construct the island.
The concept of setting up an artificial island came up when considering a place to dump the soil and stones unearthed from the second phase of construction of the seaport.
Over 20 million cubic meters of sand will be thrown up about when the seabed is dredged.
“As Hambantota Port is declared as a Green Port, it is obligatory for all investors to obtain environmental clearance before commencement of their projects. The University of Moratuwa (UOM) in collaboration with the SLPA is carrying out a Common Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) study covering the entire proposed industrial zone at Hambantota Port and the draft IEE has been submitted.
Investors are allowed to commence construction of the above industries after the successful completion of the IEE study,” he said at the investor investment forum hosted by the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce in Colombo recently.
Over US 808 million dollars will be invested for the second phase of Hambantota port which is being financed by Exim Bank of China.
The key features of the Phase II development which is that it has seven berths, a public service terminal and an artificial island of 42.6 hectares. With duration of 36 months, Phase II development is expected to reach completion by November 2015. The second phase involves expanding the harbour to have container handling facilities.
“The Hambantota Port is viable because deeper contours are close to the shore, it is the closest point to main shipping line and there is availability of ample land for expansion,” he said.
As of October 2014, the Hambantota Port had 639 RO-RO ship arrivals, 160,457 transshipments and 59,863 domestic shipments. Meanwhile, the bunker operation that commenced on June 22, 2014 has supplied 39,628 metric tonnes of fuel.