Port potential draws foreign attention - Namal

Thursday, 1 August 2013 02:22 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis Sri Lanka’s potential in the ports sector has not gone unnoticed by the international community, MP Namal Rajapaksa said on Tuesday, as is evident by the flow of investment coming into the sector. Acknowledging China as a country that realised and cashed in on the sector’s prospects before many others, he expressed that Saudi Arabia, Japan, Russia and Seychelles have now expressed interest in the sector. “China recognised that Sri Lanka was poised for growth some time ago. This is evident by the heavy investment China has made in Sri Lanka’s ports. Recently another Chinese firm finalised a US$ 1.4 billion deal to Sri Lanka to build a port city in Colombo,” Rajapaksa noted. This month another Saudi Arabian company has also come on board to invest a total of US$ 154 million in setting up a dockyard in the Galle Fort. He also confirmed reports that Russia was interested in investing in Sri Lankan ports as well, particularly in Trincomalee. “Furthermore, during the President’s foreign visits earlier this year, Japan, China and Seychelles have expressed interest in the country’s maritime projection.” He added: “It seems India too is starting to realise that Sri Lanka presents a competitive alternative in the ports sector. At a recently-held maritime conference in Mumbai, some Indian maritime experts have highlighted the needs to upgrade their ports, noting that Sri Lanka is moving ahead of Indian ports. These are all extremely encouraging reports and show that the country is treading the right path.”