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SLPA wins Deal of the Year award

Comments / 471 Views / Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:00

Sri Lanka Ports Authority won the Deal of the Year award at the inaugural Maritime Standard Awards 2014, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, held this month at Atlantis, The Palm Dubai. The Deal of the Year Award was presented to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority in recognition of its success in securing the largest foreign investment project to date in Sri Lanka for the Colombo Port City initiative.   Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama receiving the award from The Maritime Standard Editor Clive Woodbridge while Samsara Group Vice President Capt. Pankaj Mehrotra looks on. Courtesy The Maritime Standard   The SLPA has been able to reel in over US $ 1 billion in investment, primarily from China, by pledging a similar level of investment from its own resources. The Colombo Port City will not only change the geography of Sri Lanka’s primary trade gateway, it will also reinforce the Sri Lankan Government’s strategic aim of making Colombo one of the region’s leading maritime and logistics hubs. The Colombo Port City Project, which will be built by filling 233 hectares of sea, is also a brand new concept for the Sri Lankan economy. Similar facilities have been constructed in many developed countries of the world to act as sleepless cities like the ports. The project will further elevate Sri Lanka’s position as a business and tourist destination. The obstacle to develop Colombo as a modern city will also be removed through the new project. Countries such as Singapore and Dubai have built up their economic stability through ports and the project will upgrade and realise the process of making Sri Lanka the next regional maritime hub as depicted in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana Vision for the Future’ of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The development of Sri Lanka’s ports and shipping infrastructure will be the mainstay of the country’s economic resurgence. The inauguration of construction work for the Colombo Port City project began on 17 September 2014 with the participation of President Rajapaksa and Chinese President Xi Jinping, during the recent visit of the foreign leader. To date all infrastructure development projects are being successfully carried out under the direction of Highways, Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena and Secretary to the Ministry Ranjith Pemasiri, with instructions given by SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama.   Colombo Port City development project All feasibility studies carried out so far have identified that Colombo should be developed as a modern city with the best facilities. However, the city is congested at present and it is difficult to find a huge land area from one place to develop the city and Colombo dwellers have to undergo various difficulties when providing such space and facilities. There was a proposal to add additional land area to Colombo by reclaiming the sea as a remedy and develop it as a new city. It was apparent that prominence should be given to the Port City which will be constructed by reclaiming the sea as identified above as a project which extends the contribution of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to Colombo city development. While the preliminary studies for the project were being carried out, a proposal was forwarded to implement this project as an investment venture including reclamation, construction of break water, communication network and other auxiliary services by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). As this proposal was presented as a foreign investment, following the government evaluation procedure, it was forwarded to the standing Cabinet Approval Review Committee (SCARC) through the State Finance Department and according to its advice the Sri Lanka Ports Authority entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the CCCC. A Technical Evaluation Committee was appointed to evaluate the detailed proposal. As per the discussions held with the project proponent, technical matters of the project were evaluated by the Technical Evaluation Committee and the technical report was presented to the Cabinet appointed Standing Cabinet Approved Review Committee (SCARC). Accordingly, subject to the approval of the Attorney General’s Department, Cabinet approval was obtained to implement the project having presented the recommendations to the Cabinet appointed Standing Cabinet Approved Review Committee (SCARC) to the Cabinet.   Basic details of the project Not less than 233 hectares of the seabed will be reclaimed by the Colombo Port City Development Project, 170 hectares out of this have been identified as an area that can be developed and the rest of the 63 hectares have been allocated for common facilities such as a water area, roads and parks. The project’s proponent is CCCC and $ 1337 million has been estimated as the total construction expenditure. This development project will be implemented by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Board of Investment of Sri Lank will provide tax relief for the investment. Construction work will be carried out by the China Harbour Engineering Company. It is expected that about $ 20 billion will be invested in the second stage of the project within a period of 20 years.   Project implementation plan The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will consist of the construction of breakwater, land reclamation and the development of infrastructure facilities on 75 hectares of land. Phase two will comprise developing infrastructure facilities on 95 hectares. The entire project implementation period is eight years from the date of the implementation of the agreement. The proposed port city is protected from the south by the breakwater constructed for the Colombo South Port. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has spent $ 400 million for the construction of this breakwater and this amount can be considered as an investment for the construction of the port city. It has been possible to significantly reduce the project cost of the port city because of the breakwater of the Southern Port and thereby the success of the project has been proven. Approval has been granted to transport granite and other goods required for the project through internal roads of the Colombo Port in order to reduce traffic congestion that can be increased due to the implementation of such a huge project in the heart of Colombo. The estimated granite requirement for the project is five million cubic meters. Furthermore, at least two entrances to the project area from the east and the north are required in order to expedite construction work of the project. One entrance is from Chaithya Road and from the two entrances, the northern one is to be provided when the breakwater of the Colombo Southern Port is opened. Even though this project is a city development project, expertise should be possessed by the company leading the project since it will be built in an oceanic environment. Through this project, a large area of the sea is expected to be reclaimed and a breakwater and huge side beams will be constructed to protect the reclaimed land. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority is the only state institution which possesses technical knowledge, facilities and expertise required to implement such a project. Furthermore, it is important to maintain the breakwater, channel, artificial lagoon and shore that will be built by the project. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority is the only institute which possesses the required machinery and skilled labour for this. In addition, the experience gained through completing the harbour construction work of the Colombo South Harbour on time with minimum environmental effects - according to the environmental impact evaluation report - will contribute immensely to the success of this project. Hence, this project is due to be handled under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and required amendments will be made to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act accordingly.    

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