Sri Lanka: port prospects

Sri Lanka: port prospects
Published: 22 October 2010

A new port being built in Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota has drawn investment proposals from local and foreign businesses.

Madras Cements, India’s fifth largest cement maker and part of Chennai-based Ramco Group, has  proposed investing in a cement terminal at the port, a greenfield site to be operated as a free port with no taxes. A Sri Lanka Ports Authority statement said that 27 local and foreign companies among 63 that collected the request for investment proposals have submitted bids.

"The response shows investors are keen to invest in the new port," said Agil Hewageegana, SLPA chief engineer in charge of the port project in Hambantota known as Magampura Port.

He said some of the local firms that sent proposals are in joint ventures with foreign partners.
The new deep water harbour close to the main shipping route across the Indian Ocean, to function initially as an industrial port, was built by Chinese firms and largely funded by Chinese loans.

The SLPA received six investment proposals for cement terminals in Hambanthota when bids closed last week, two for vehicle assembly, two each for liquid petroleum gas and petro-chemical complexes, and three for warehousing.

"Magampura Port is being developed as a multi-purpose, industrial and service port and aims to make the best of the expanding markets of the Indian sub-continent, with short transit times to India, Africa and the Gulf region," it said.