CCC and China Merchant showcase investment opportunities in Hambantota Port
The potential for investment opportunities in the Hambantota Port and its Logistics and Industrial Zones were presented last week at a seminar organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) titled “South Asia’s Emerging Gateway City” Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake; Deputy General Manager of China Merchant Port Holdings Co. Ltd (CMPH), Hang Tian and BOI Director, Mangala Yapa.
Dr. Dissanayake opened his presentation by stating that ports needed to be demand driven and not developed simply on a political whim.
He went on say that contrary to misleading statements the SLPA will continue to have major say in the Hambantota Port.
He also said that all of Sri Lanka’s ports continued to face commercial threats especially from the new South Indian Port being constructed by India’s largest private shipping firm, Adani.
“CMPH’s USD 1.4 billion investment in the Hambantota Port is Sri Lanka’s largest FDI. It is important that we remember that our geographical location is merely a comparative advantage given that a large South Indian Port will be a huge commercial threat. We need the expertise of a reputed company like CMPH to help operate the Hambantota Port so that Sri Lanka can adapt to emerging global logistics trends,” Dissanayake said.
Yapa continued on from Dissanayake’s presentation by adding that it was important to concentrate on the Bay of Bengal area as it not only contained one of South Asia’s highest population densities but also many fast developing economies.
He said that Colombo Port will continue on its positive trajectory, expressed his optimistic opinion that the Hambantota Port may become just as successful with the PPP formed with CMPH and suggested that the Trincomalee Port be developed with the aim of targeting the Bay of Bengal region.
Yapa also spoke of projects in the sectors of petroleum, cement, LNG and LPG that were in the Hambantota Port project pipeline, adding that the agreement with CMPH would open the door for more FDIs in both the Port and Industrial Zone.
Hang who gave the last presentation said that one of the deciding factors for CMPH investing in the Hambantota Port was its success with the Colombo South Port. He said that CMPH was committed to the success of Hambantota as the investment was funded not through sovereign debt but shareholder capital of its company, which was a reputed Hong Kong-based “blue-chip” company.
He said that five other factors also determined their investment, namely; Hambantota’s strategic location to main marine locations, the transformation of Sri Lanka’s economy given its increased imports and exports, the global industrial shift from East to West citing the emergence of South Asia and East Africa as major industrial players with Sri Lanka ideally located to link the two regions, the China factor given China’s shift to increased consumerism and Chinese perception of Sri Lanka as the best logistics location for Chinese wholesalers and retailers, and the free port.
Hang said that Hambantota would promote five business platforms (sectors) namely; port services, vessel supply and services, port-related industry, integrated logistics and business incubators.
He also said that CMPH was China’s leading energy supplier and stressed the possibility of forming synergies in this regard.
Dissanayake said that the project will likely commence during the beginning of November.
Yapa suggested the possibility of a high speed rail network that connected Hambantota to Colombo which would facilitate better land transportation.
Hang concluded by inviting all potential investment opportunities, professionals and other enterprising individuals, ventures and ideas to consider Hambantota with its port, logistics zone and industrial zone as an ideal business location.
Given all the possible potential for the PPP with CMPH, Hambantota seems to be an ideal investment opportunity. Considering Hang’s invitation and mention of a possible energy synergy, the opportunities appear boundless.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/26092017/Z_9|