Sri Lanka takes next step to opening strategic China-built port
COLOMBO (REUTERS) - Sri Lanka will start storing bunker fuel at the US$1.5 billion (S$1.9 billion) Hambantota port in June, a senior official said, after years of delays to the Chinese-built installation that sits on strategic shipping lanes, and a key step to making it commercially viable.
The state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) originally had plans to open the facility for ship fuel in May 2011, six months after President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the port in his home town on his 65th birthday.
"We are about to get the test samples in March. Then we will do the trials. After that we will start proper bunkering operation in June," Mr Priyath Wickrama, chairman of the SLPA told Reuters in an interview.
The US$130 million storage project contains eight tanks of bunker oil for ships and six tanks of aviation fuel and LPG.