Sri Lanka looks forward to the development of the Kankasanthurai Port using US $ 40 million loan offered by India, Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.
The Minister disclosed that Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) had done preliminary work, and would proceed with the rest of the work using the financial facility offered by the EXIM Bank of India.
Development work at the Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour is scheduled to be completed on 23 February 2023 with nearly 35% of the work being completed up to now since October 2020,
“There is some work meant for us to do. We have done. Then, the Indian side has appointed a consultant. Once we get that report, we will move ahead with the development of the port located in the northern tip of Sri Lanka. Currently, only small vessels can be berthed. We will develop it for the accommodation of bigger vessels,” he said.
Earlier, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said cargo transportation between India and northern Sri Lanka would commence shortly.
The development of the port with the Indian assistance has long been in the pipeline. India offered financial assistance in this regard in the aftermath of the end of the war in May, 2009, and some works such as wreck removal was done at that time.
Sri Lanka Ports Development Authority (SLPA) Acting Chief Engineer – Development A.L.M. Nowfer stated that due to several unavoidable circumstances at present, the initial design period of nine months has been extended till 23 August 2021, after which the construction work will commence for 18 months as scheduled.
“Due to the prevailing pandemic condition in Sri Lanka as well as in India, certain fieldwork in Sri Lanka/in-house work in India can’t be performed at the scheduled speed. Therefore, further time extensions for the consultancy contract may have to be granted subject to providing valued justifications by the consultant,” Nowfer said.
Nowfer highlighted that there are five main activities, namely: the construction of a new commercial berth, Pier No. 3 (size 167 m x 22 m); rehabilitation of the existing breakwater (1,400 m); rehabilitation of the existing Pier No. 1 (size 96 m x 24 m); construction of Pier No. 2 (extension of existing Pier No. 1, size 85 m x 24 m); and finally, the completion of infrastructure facilities such as navigational aids, a concrete road on the breakwater, etc.
“As per the project management consultancy contract signed between the two parties (Sri Lanka and India), the project duration is 39 months in total: the design work is nine months, construction work 18 months, and the defect liability period is 12 months,” he added.
Furthermore, to fund the project work, the Government of Sri Lanka has entered into a dollar credit line agreement with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India and obtained financial assistance of $ 45.27 million.
As per the decision of the Government to position the KKS Harbour as a main commercial port in Sri Lanka, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to further develop the harbour in February 2020, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson and Plantation Industries and Export Agriculture Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said.
The proposal was submitted by former Ports and Shipping Minister Johnston Fernando to acquire 50 acres of land adjoining the Kankesanthurai Harbour for the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA).
Dr. Pathirana further said that Cabinet approval was granted to acquire 15 acres of public land and 35 acres of privately owned land for this purpose. The privately owned land will be acquired by paying compensation as specified under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act.
The Indian High Commission in Colombo, stated that with the assistance of the Indian Government, Kankesanthurai would become a bigger and better port and be able to function as the hub of economic development in the Northern Province.
Subsequently, once fully functional, the KKS Harbour will be the nearest port for all eastern ports in India, as well as for Myanmar and Bangladesh.