President Mahinda Rajapakse who begins his five-day official visit to China this week is expected to discuss technical and financial assistance for the Hambantota Port Development Project from the Chinese government, official sources said.
This gigantic project, estimated to cost to Rs. 30.9 billion million it calls for, is expected to be completed by 2011.
It requires completion of three vital components - the breakwater project, the industrial port and the bunkering facility, the sources said.
Treasury Secretary, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, had earlier informed the media that the commercial contract between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Chinese partners had already been finalized, expressing hope that the signing of the deal could take place in China during the President`s visit.
Hambantota has the potential of being expanded into a major transshipment port, given its location within ten nautical miles from the world`s busiest shipping line. This expansion could also see the fruition of other periphery projects which could contribute to the overall development of the area.
Both China and Japan had expressed willingness to fund major infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, with Japan already announcing provision of 392.3 million Japanese Yen to the Greater Colombo Urban Transport Development Project, Water Sector Development Project and Pro-poor rural development project. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are also expected to provide funds of a similar magnitude, the sources said.