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Srilanka looks to China to buoy Hambantota port
Sri Lanka’s new leaders are banking on Chinese investments to revive the Hambantota port project.
Hambantota gained notoriety as a port without ships and was the butt of opposition criticism of then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Following Rajapaksa’s ouster in January’s presidential election, the new government first toyed with the idea of turning the port into a ship-breaking yard, before deciding to make it a dockyard.z_pi-sl02.jpg
“We have US$ 1.5 billion sunk in the project and no revenue. We need to make use of it. We want Chinese investors to come and help turn it into a dockyard as well as invest in an industrial park there,” Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Harsha de Silva told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview. “The Chinese have expressed interest in the project.
Hopefully things will start moving after Colombo Port City is sorted,” he said.
The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a plan by China HarbourEngineering Company (CHEC) to do a feasibility study to build the dockyard at Hambantota.
CHEC has also proposed to manage and operate the dockyard.
Hambantota is among the many big-ticket infrastructure projects China funded during Rajapaksa’s rule.
Sri Lanka is estimated to have received up to US billion from China in the form of aid, softloans and grants in the past six years.
Nearly 70 per cent of the infrastructure projects in the country have been funded by China and built by Chinese companies.