Business Times

Govt. seeks new $140 mln loan for Hambantota port work

By Sunimalee Dias

The government is set to incur an additional cost of US$3-4 million for rock blasting work at the Hambantota harbour. Part of this cost will be obtained through a loan from a Chinese bank, authorities stated.

However, work on the blasting the rock is possible once the Chinese banking authorities approve the loan amount to the government, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama told the Business Times. It was pointed out that while the government has requested for a loan of US$140 million they will be utilizing this for the additional costs at the Hambantota port. Additional costs include approximately US$3-4 million for rock blasting work at the entrance to the channel of the port while the rest will be spent on price escalation, infrastructure work, and construction of the SLPA head office building within the port premises.

The Hambantota port has already blasted 99.6% of the rock in the basin and channel while the remaining small patch needs to be worked on, Dr. Wickrama said. He pointed out that while negotiations are still underway with the banks it will take upto 3 – 4 months until the loan is finally approved. By that time around the end of September or mid October work on the blasting of the rock is likely to commence, Dr. Wickrama explained.

He noted that this will take upto 4-6 months due to the bad weather prevailing during that time of the year. Meanwhile, authorities are readying to call for proposals for the second time in October with five investors selected to carry out warehousing operations at the port likely to gain approval, Dr. Wickrama said.

Warehousing at the Hambantota Port has been allocated 30 hectares, while additional services such as ship repairs, ship handling and crew handling will also be available at the second call for proposals.

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