Posted on April 23rd, 2014

Dharma Sri Abeyratne – Courtesy The Daily News

The construction of an artificial island named ‘Lotus Island’ coming under the second phase of the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa ports development project is in rapid progress. The Lotus Island which is 50 hectares in extent and with a top elevation of 8 metres is being constructed by dumping soil excavated from the harbour basin of the phase two construction.

A 2,140 metre long quay for six births, an oil terminal with a depth of minus 17 metres and a length of 300 metres, an artificial island of 50 hectares with a top elevation of eight metres, a fly-over bridge and roads and yards will be among the key features of phase 11 of the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port that will be commissioned in January 2016.

The Port of Hambantota, also known as ‘Magampura’ is about 19 nautical miles north of the key shipping route between the straits of Malacca and the Suez Canal, which links Asia and Europe. An estimated 36,000 ships including 4,500 oil tankers use this route annually.

“The artificial island is being constructed by dumping soil removed from the harbour basin. The island will be used as a tourist attraction as it will afford a panoramic view since it is constructed in the sea just away from the coastal belt. Restaurants, shopping areas, hotel facilities will be available on the island,” Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama said.

Under phase II of the project which is in rapid progress and targeted to be completed by the end of next year, the basin excavation will be done up to minus 17 metres with a turning circle of 600 metres diametre while the approach channel will be dredged up to 18 metres.

“The construction of the second phase is in full swing after signing of the contract agreement by officials of the SLPA and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd.

Funding for the project was through a loan from the government of the People’s Republic of China on concessionary terms,” the SLPA Chairman said.

Phase II will further include, providing of all yard handling equipment and development of a yard area of 60 hectares adjacent to the quay wall.

According to the chairman, two new cranes will be fixed at MRMRP allowing container handling facilities.

“These two cranes will reach the country by the end of May. The cranes will be ready for container handling by June,” the chairman said.

Meanwhile, the SLPA has recorded an increase in container volumes handled at the Colombo Port in 2013. Accordingly, the SLPA recorded a growth of 12.3 percent, 20 foot equivalent units (TEUs) in transhipment operations during the last year. The SLPA has handled a total transhipment volume of 1,779,882 TEUs in 2013 compared to 1,584,985 TEUs handled in 2012. SLPA’s operations statistics further show that the SLPA has shown a 1.8 percent growth in domestic operations in 2013 compared to 2012.

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