Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), China and India are investing over $700m for the development of three key ports in Sri Lanka over the next three years.

India will invest $40m to upgrade the Kankesanthurai Port, which is currently in process and expected to be completed early next year.

Sri Lankan Treasury has received a total lease payment of $974m for the Hambantota port project from China, which has already invested $146m for the development work in the port.

SLPA has decided to invest $100m for the construction of the East Container Terminal (ECT), following detailed planning and negotiations.

SLPA recorded Rs13.3bn ($193m) profit last year and plans to invest in the development of ECT, as delaying this project further is expected to cost more for the authority.

“We will also add more infrastructure facilities to the Colombo Port to offer better facilities to cruise liners.”

SLPA will also redevelop the West Container Terminal in Colombo and plans to conduct a feasibility study soon.

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As per internationally recognised global ranking indices, the Port of Colombo is claimed to be the 23rd-best container port and the 13th-best connectivity port in the world.

Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe said: “We will also add more infrastructure facilities to the Colombo Port to offer better facilities to cruise liners and work with the travel sector to promote Sri Lanka’s cruise liner business.”

Plans are underway for the conversion of Galle Harbour to a tourism port and expression of interest (EOI) for this purpose would be called soon.

According to the minister, they are also working with the Asian Development Bank to formulate a long-term maritime master plan for Sri Lanka.