Photo taken on March 23, 2019 shows the storage yard of the Hambantota Port, in southern Sri Lanka. (Xinhua/Tang Lu)
Sri Lanka's state owned Board of Investments (BOI) opened a one stop service center at the Hambantota International Port, in southern Sri Lanka, on Saturday evening to attract investors from the global port industry to invest in the island's south.
The new center was set up as a joint venture between the BOI and the Hambantota International Port Group Private Limited (HIPG) which is a joint venture company formed between the Sri Lankan government and China Merchants Port Holdings (CM Port).
CM Port entered partnership with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority in 2017 to develop and manage the port.
Following the launch of the new center on Saturday, the BOI said it will play the role of facilitator to provide all information about Sri Lanka's investment policies to those interested in investing in Hambantota to improve Sri Lanka's ranking in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index.
The BOI said the Hambantota Port was targeting port related investments within the 3.5 square km area allocated for the Hambantota Port's development.
Sri Lanka's Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, speaking at the opening ceremony, said the launch of this one stop service center was a landmark event in Sri Lanka's economic history and a remarkable milestone in the development of the southern province.
Samarawickrama said this new center would bring global opportunities for the people in Hambantota and the south and it would benefit all its regional partners.
"Today as we embark on this new phase of development in Hambantota, I want to thank CM Port for their partnership and courage. Their expertise in successfully operating dozens of similar port operations around the world will no doubt contribute in making the project here a success," Samarawickrama said.
"My ministry will do everything possible to attract investors to come here. Our government looks forward to working even more closely with the government of China to bring progress and development to our country and to improve the living standards of the poor people, particularly in this area," he added.
Chinaese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan said the opening of this new service center was yet another milestone in the co-building and operating of the Hambantota Port between Chinese and Sri Lankan companies and it laid a solid foundation for promoting the development of the Hambantota Industrial Zone.
Ren Rei, Chief Executive Officer of HIPG, said that in 2018, the Hambantota Port was able to significantly increase its performance with more than 300 vessels calling with different service requirements.
The CEO said the Hambantota Port was also growing closer to its goals of an international energy hub.