Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was on a multi-faceted inspection tour of the Hambantota International Port (HIP) to appraise the ongoing development projects at the port.
Johnson Liu, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group, said they witness the progress and success of the port, which was developed under guidance and visionary leadership of then President Rajapaksa. This port now serves as a beacon light for the economic development of the Southern Region of Sri Lanka.”
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Qi Zhenhong, Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka and Ministers G L Pieris, Chamal Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa. The PM’s visit also coincided with the port achieving the milestone of 500,000 RORO vehicles handled in 2021, for which he participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The visit included the laying of the foundation stone for the port’s first bonded warehouse project, after which the Prime Minister was accompanied by the port team to inspect the construction sites of plants being set up by the Xinji Shenzhen Group and Ceylon Tyre Manufacturing Company. The PM also inspected the slope protection project initiated by the port to stabilise the area for the tyre manufacturing facility, which is a US$ 300 million investment. The project, being developed on 55.8 hectares of land which includes scope for an additional 16 acres for its second phase, has a commitment to export 30,000 container units annually, and is expected to create more than 3,000 job opportunities.
The US$ 15 million plug and play park in park facility by the XinjiShenzhen Group, a high-tech facility to provide ‘one stop’ services to light industries, is being built on 3.07 hectares of land and will create approximately 500 jobs.
The Prime Minister and his delegation were given a brief introduction to the Master Plan for the HIP Industrial Park by CEO Johnson Liu. Until now, 42 enterprises have signed agreements with HIPG to enter the Industrial Park, of which 10 projects have already commenced construction. 8 new projects are to be signed soon, while another 15 projects with key potential are in the pipeline.
The Logistics Warehouse facility which is being built by Hambantota Port and Logistics Services Pvt. Ltd., the warehousing arm of the Colombo Logistics Group to store bagged cargo, is being developed on a land area of approximately 1 hectare.
The new warehousing facility once completed will spur HIP’s plans to develop fertilizer distribution both locally and for transshipment.
The port was able to increase RORO (roll on-roll off) volumes this year by introducing effective new strategies and the formation of partnerships with new RORO lines to bring transshipment cargo via HIP.
The innovative approach resulted in the 500,000 units of small and large vehicles handled in 2021, amidst continuing challenges faced by the pandemic. The vehicles transshipped are mainly manufactured in India, Thailand, Japan and Korea and destined for Africa, the Middle East, Far East and South America.
The delegates were briefed on the new Hope Village project being established by the port to benefit surrounding communities which will help develop livelihoods in animal husbandry and agriculture.