A ceremony where the basin of the Hambantota Port was filled with sea water, as part of the port’s second phase of development, was held on 11 July in the presence of Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga.
Along with the minister, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Acting Chairman Capt. Asitha Wijesekara, Board Director Saliya Senanayake, Director S.P.D. Ajil Hewageegana and a number of senior officials also attended the vent.
Presently, the basin has been fully excavated and was filled with sea water on Saturday. The total size of the water basin is 84 hectares. It holds 14 million cm of seawater. After it is filled with water, the 110-metre-long Coffer Dam, which was constructed under the first and second phases of development work, will be removed.
The first phase of work on the Hambantota Port commenced in 2007. Its complete cost exceeded $ 500 million and 90% of this was funded by a loan granted by the EX-IM Bank of China. This was done even though proper feasibility studies were not carried out regarding the viability of repayment. This meant that over Rs. 7 billion per year would be paid. This was a burden to the port and was not profitable when compared with the investment.