13th September 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com
Service providers in the trade hubs of Dubai and Singapore have shown interest in a new port in southern Sri Lanka where a request for proposals from businesses has been issued, an official said.
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority said it has issued a request for proposals from international and local firms or consortia to design, build, finance, manage and operate business ventures at the new port of Hambantota.
The deadline for proposals is September 30, 2010.
"Now we are getting a lot of requests from service providers in Singapore and Dubai," SLPA chairman Priyath Wickrama said.
"From Hambantota they can easily feed both the east and west coast of the Indian sub-continent."
Cargo flows are increasing from India whose economy is growing fast. Transhipment cargo from the Indian sub-continent is sent either through Colombo, Singapore or Dubai.
Both Singapore and Dubai have used their geographical location on the main East-West shipping route to emerge as trade and cargo hubs.
The SLPA has said it is keen to use the position of the new port at Hambantota, only a few miles from the main East-West shipping route across the Indian Ocean, to make it a hub for the south Asian region.
The SLPA began filling the new port's basin in mid-August with the first ship expected to berth by year's end.
A team of local and foreign entrepreneurs who obtained the Request For Proposals were recently taken for a visit to the new port.
Under the phase two of the project investment and business ventures will be available for cement grinding, storage and bagging, fertilizer storage and bagging, LP gas distribution, ware housing, vehicle assembly, flour milling, and food processing and packaging.
Wickrama said the SLPA is also developing a marketing plan for the terminals in Colombo and Hambantota.
"We are going to market Sri Lanka, not only terminals," he said. "We have a product to market now. Earlier we had concepts to market but now we have a product."
He said port capacity is being built up to attract cargo volumes as existing capacity at both government and the private terminal in Colombo port is nearing their maximum.
"To attract volumes to Sri Lanka we must have capacity; otherwise we might not attract regional volumes on a large scale."
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