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Harnessing the blue seas;

Magampura Port opens

 

"During King Parakramabahu's era, our nation was widely recognized as having one of the most superior navies of the region. I strongly believe that we have inherited a special naval prowess and aptitude from our ancestors' superior naval techniques. By building on that strength and our rich naval traditions, I am certain we can once again convert Sri Lanka to being the naval centre point along the Indian Ocean Silk Route within the next ten years".

- ‘Mahinda Chintana’: Vision for the Future

The ceremonial berthing of the first vessel to the 'Magama Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port' was held today (18 Nov) commissioning the first phase of the Port by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

It entered the Port in the morning amidst the chanting of Pirith by 254 members of the Maha Sangha on board the vessel “Jetliner”, followed by a sailing ship and a Sri Lankan cargo ship.

The sailing ship symbolizes the proud maritime history of the country while the cargo ship showcase the commencement of industrial and commercial activities of the port.

The Port will become an active port in the country and already 27 investors have requested to start projects.

The Port, which lies within 10 nautical miles from the major Indian Ocean shipping routes, will be significant for the East-West shipping trade.

Thus, international ships will soon enter the southern Port making it Sri Lanka’s second international Port.

The location of the Port

Hambantota is within 10 nautical miles of the world's busiest shipping lane. It is ideally located at the intersection of major international sea trading routes. Around 70,000- 80,000 vessels annually, or around 200 vessels daily, sail past Hambantota, necessitating the carrying of a large quantity of fuel and supplies for the journey, which could be replaced by cargo if servicing is provided midway at Hambantota.
As a Greenfield site, Hambantota possesses a significant advantage in that it can be planned without any restriction to achieve high port performance and productivity.

The natural depth along the coastline is ideally suited for the development of a deep water port. The approach to the port does not necessitate a long dredged channel.

As a strategically situated maritime gateway to India (for transshipment container cargo), Hambantota is very well positioned. It is better located than any Indian port to act as transshipment centre, because of equi- distance to, and ability to serve both, the east and west coasts of India as well as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and smaller countries such as the Maldives.

Hambantota enjoys a very good geographic location to serve domestic trade, with direct roadway connection to the southern, central and eastern areas of the island. In this respect, it is better located to serve the southern half of the island than the historic port of Galle, and it enjoys a unique location in the Southern Region for linking to the Central and Eastern provinces by road, these road connections are also being improved for the port to fully develop as an important domestic trade centre.

Hambantota is quite distant from Colombo and therefore would function best as an independent rather than overflow port.

Considering weather conditions, Hambantota is not readily subject to the cyclonic activities that periodically affect the Bay of Bengal and the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka, and it does not experience the full force of the South-West monsoon.

Hambantota has an extensive land area for expansion and labour- related activities such as port related industries, warehousing and servicing. This is a unique feature that provides a distinct advantage over other ports. Thus, the Magampura Port will soon be one of the leading naval hubs in the world.

First phase of the project

A total land area of 2000 hectares belongs to the Magampura Port. This land is located in Karagan Levaya area which is situated in the Tissamaharama electorate of the Hambantota district.

Under the first phase of the project, construction was carried out in 43 hectares of land enabling it to accommodate vessels up to 100,000 DWT.

Preliminary studies, data collection, feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment and detailed engineering designs etc were also completed within a very short time.

The Government of China is funding 85% through the EXIM Bank while the Sri Lanka Ports Authority is funding 15% as per the contract. The cost for hase 1 of the project is US $ 360 million.

The main construction work of Phase 1 commenced on 15th January 2008 and the project duration was scheduled for 39 months, but it was completed before the initial target date of 15th August 2011.This work includes, construction of two breakwaters, excavation of the 17 m depth basin area, dredging of 210m wide entrance channel, construction of a service berth, a general purpose berth, an oil berth, roads and buildings.

A fully fledged Bunkering facility and a Tank Farm project will also be constructed at Magampura Port with 14 tanks at an expenditure of US$ 76 million. Eight tanks out of the 14 will be utilized for bunkering while the other 6 will be utilized as 3 each for aviation fuel and LPG tanks. The 14 tanks will offer a total capacity of 80,000m3.

Construction work on the 75000 sq ft of 15 storeyed Administrative Building has also commenced.

New properties and housing for families affected

All 450 families in the Karagan Levaya and surrounding areas affected by the construction of the Magampura Port, have been provided with financial assistance and lands as compensation. The Ports Authority has also provided all necessary infrastructure facilities to those who received lands.

Residents of the Hambantota district were made aware of the benefits of the Magampura Port project through Seminars and workshops.

Second phase of the project

Agreements have already been signed for the commencement of the second stage of the Magampura Port, the Ports Authority said.

Under the 2nd Phase of the project, the government is planning to develop a 50 acre island in the sea off the port. A bridge with a height of 8 meters, roads and terminals will be constructed to join the island with the mainland.

Once the project is completed the port will provide services such as bunkering facilities, ship repair, ship building and general shipping services while, ‘Raw Raw’ services for importing and re-exporting, as well as food and medical assistance will be provided for the ships' crew arriving at the Magampura Port.

Ports authorities are also expected to provide crew members to ships and function as a transit centre.

The aim of ‘Mahinda Chintana’: Vision for the Future to upgrade Naval and Aviation services in Sri Lanka is now becoming a reality. The Port of Magampura, once completed, will provide a gamut of services to function as an international naval centre.

The project will help fulfill the vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in harnessing the seas to ensure the well being of Sri Lanka’s future generations and at the same time it will make Sri Lanka a naval hub in the world, to face regional challenges, and attract foreign revenue and investments.







 

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Last modified: November 18, 2011.

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