Sri Lankan Minister says government to upgrade several key ports located island wide in 2018
Sri Lanka’s Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has reportedly said that several major ports island wide would be developed in 2018.
The Minister has said that the Colombo Port is also included in the list of ports to be upgraded with the aim of developing the cruise liner industry.
“We know that some 200 cruises pass through our seas but don’t stop at the Colombo port, as it doesn’t have adequate facilities. We will upgrade the Colombo port to encourage cruise liners to stop at out the Colombo port for tourism related activities,” Samarasinghe has been quoted as saying in the local media.
The Galle Port will be expanded to establish a yacht marina, the Minister has said explaining: “The sea area surrounding the Galle port is too shallow for container ships therefore we will make it a yacht marina. Along with the Galle Fort, this venture will greatly help tourism in the Galle district.”
According to the report, a US$ 40 million credit line will be used to develop the Kankasanthurai (KKS) Port with the help of Singaporean company Surbana Jurong.
“The Singaporean company has formulated a master plan for the KKS port. The SLPA owns some 5000 acres of land in the region. We are waiting for Cabinet approval to go ahead with the project,” Samarasinghe has explained.
Speaking of the Oluvil Port, Samarasinghe has said the port was still not operational due to several environmental issues.
“When the Oluvil Port was built the issue of sand filling the port had not been identified. We have now recognized that we must resolve this issue before it can be made operational. Also there is an issue of erosion in the surrounding coastal area affecting the local villages. We hope to resolve the two issues simultaneously,” the Minister has explained.
He has further noted that they had sought assistance from the Department of External Resources for funds to begin renovation of the Oluvil Port this year.
Samarasinghe has also said that the development of ports on the East coast was a top priority of the Government. “Just in the last three years we have lost Rs. 3,500 million worth of profits because of the lack of functioning ports on the East coast. We will be presenting a Cabinet paper shortly regarding Ports in the East coast.”
The Sri Lankan government in its 2018 Budget proposed the upgrading of several key ports located around the island. As stated by the Ports and Shipping Minister the upgrading of the Colombo Port to encourage the cruise liner industry and the Galle Port to set up a yacht marina would result in a boost in the country’s tourism sector as well. Apart from developing the ports in the country that would help Sri Lanka achieve its target of becoming a maritime hub in the Indian Ocean region, the move would also promote tourism in the country. Therefore, investors could look at the investment opportunities in the shipping sector like investing in a yacht marina or the handling of cruise liners as well as invest in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.
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