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Sri Lanka port to take 400 years to pay off investment: Eran

ECONOMYNEXT – A Chinese-funded and built port in Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota could take 400 years to pay off its investment at the present rate of return, Deputy Minister of Highways & Investment Promotion Eran Wickremaratne said.

The first phase of the Hambantota port on the south coast cost 361 million US dollars of which 80 percent was funded with a loan from the Exim Bank of the People’s Republic of China.

But the port has been criticised as a ‘white elephant’ for not having enough business more than two years after it was commissioned.

Construction work on the second phase of the project has raised its cost to over a billion dollars, port officials have said.

Wickremaratne told a news conference that some projects done by the ousted Rajapaksa regime were way ahead of their time in terms of demand for them.

“We estimate that the Hambantota port will take 400 years to pay off its investment at the present rate of return,” he said.

Hambantota has been attracting car transhipment business from neighbouring India but its efforts to do bunkering failed when oil prices plunged leaving it with a stock of fuel bought at higher prices.  (Colombo/August 11 2015)

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