Reclamation For Port City To Begin In October
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) plans to spend US$ 900 million on basic infrastructure on 243 acres of land reclaimed from the sea opposite the Galle Face in Colombo.
Investments will be sought from the private sector to the tune of US$ 15 billion for a mega port-city development project that include a Formula One urban race track, golf course, yacht marina, a five star hotel, a canal for water sports and boating, shopping complex and mall and a central boulevard, it was revealed on Tuesday, July 10.
Addressing the two-day Port, Trade and Logistics Conference and Exhibition on Tuesday, Dr Priyath Bandu Wickrema, Chairman, SLPA said that reclamation work would begin in October and was expected to be completed with roads, drainage and telecommunication infrastructure in place in 39 months.
“We intend to attract investments from the private sector to develop this small modern port city. This entire project is estimated at US$ 15 billion and we are not going to spend a cent.
We have already received a few commitments from investors,” he said and added that commitments received amounted to US$ 3 billion.
China Harbhour Engineering Corporation will carry out the reclamation work and is expected to invest US$ 2.5 billion into developing a block of land that it would receive. The balance will be sold on 99-year leases to potential investors. Request for proposals would be called next year.
Dr. Wickrama added that the SLPA had invested US$ 3 billion on port related infrastructure development activities with another US$ 5 billion being sought from the private sector. “We hope to attract US$ 5 billion from private investors by 2015 and we believe we can achieve this before then,” he said.
The SLPA has called for proposals under the second phase of the Hambantota Port development project, intending to raise US$ 1 billion. Earlier this year the government announced that a group of private investors led by Beijing based Sino-Sri Lanka Rich Investment was planning to invest US$ 50 billion over ten years on the Hambantota Trade City Project. The funds would come from Hong Kong, Singapore and the US.
On the first day of the confab, Chris Hayman, chairman of Seatrade, welcomed the speakers and invited them to deliver their plans, thoughts and assessments of Sri Lanka’s maritime future, with the observation that, “These are challenging times for the world’s major economies and the shipping markets, but here in Sri Lanka we see a country and an economy that shows real confidence in its future.”
Kumara Welgama, Minister of Transport, made the welcome address followed by Dr. Wickrama. Noboru Ueda, Chairman & President, Class NK, Japan, was next followed by Dr Willie Gamage, Chairman of the strategic Enterprise Management Agency who noted that that it was important to appreciate the pivotal role played by state owned enterprises not just in Sri Lanka, but in many economies around the world, in acting as a catalyst for generating export and import business for the shipping and ports sector.