Govt. to industrialize Hambantota Port

21 October 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
The Hambantota Port will be the locus of a new industrialization effort, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
“We will put our maximum effort into industrialize the port. We’re trying to use it as a huge car parking base between Japan and the Middle East. We’ll look at a lot of industrial-oriented activities to take place there,” he said.
He noted that with the Sapugaskanda Refinery reaching its limit, a new refinery could be set up near the Hambantota Port.
Further, he said that proposals for a sugar refinery and wheat processing plant in the port have also been forwarded recently.
Recently the Ports and Shipping Ministry and Board of Investment said that proposals of up to US $ 1 billion linked to ship repair and ship breaking operations were also presented, while fuel bunkering facilities will be renewed in Hambantota as well.
The port is situated near the hometown of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and is widely considered to be a white elephant project. Karunanayake said that the loss from the project would have to be written off and looked at from fresh perspectives.
“What to do? We sinners have to carry that forward. Rs.200 billion spent with Rs.200 million in net revenue, what do you expect us to do? Bomb the place?” he added in a lighter vein.
The former regime had constructed the port in three stages, with the final stage to include a massive container terminal. However, experts have said that the Hambantota Port is ideal for bulk cargo and vehicle roll-on/roll-off operations while Colombo remains the container hub for the subcontinent.

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