Sri Lanka's Hambantota port to be developed with dockyard facility.

Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port is to be developed with dockyard facilities at the port at an estimated cost of two billion rupees, media report said.

A Chinese company has responded positively to Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga's call for expression of interests from potential investors to build dockyard facilities at the Hambantotaa Port, te report quoting a ministry source said.

The minister said discussions would be held with the Chinese company to work out the terms and conditions for making the investment a profit-making venture with employment opportunities for several thousands.

"The expression of interest for investment in the Hambantota Port Project has been forwarded to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC). The expression of interest has been reffered to the Sub Committee on Economic Affairs and it had instructed that a total package be formulated for this investment," he said in the report.

The minister has also conducted a several rounds of talks with SLPA officials and CHEC representatives to discuss the CHEC potential and interest to develop, manage and operate a dockyard for ship building and repair at the Hambantota Port.

Meanwhile, the CHEC has requested the issuance of a letter indicating the Government's interest in granting them an exclusivity period of 12 months to prepare a detailed plan and a feasibility study and sign an MoU between the GOSL and the CHEC.

The Hambantota Port Project came under heavy criticism from the opposition which alleged that the project had failed to provide the expected dividends to the economy and that the entire project was a waste of money.