In The Press
Port City to give new facelift to Colombo
One, standing on the Galle Face green, views unhindered the dredging vessels that pump sand for the reclamation of land from the sea under the Port City development. Today, it is a massive construction site bustling with activity. Tomorrow, it is bound to change the whole landscape, and architectural and aesthetic outlook of Colombo, in fact, with a new two-kilometre beach.
China funded Port City, Sri Lanka’s single largest Foreign Direct Investment of US $ 1.4 billion, is now scheduled to be completed by the middle of next year. The project is slated to add value to the strategic positioning of Sri Lanka abutting the major sea-lanes of Indian Ocean on which a bulk of global transnational trade take place. As such, it gives enhanced geostrategic value for Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, once it is fully operational, the city landscape of Colombo will be transformed with modern skyscrapers and other related facilities. As outlined by Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of CHEH Port City Colombo (PVT) LTD Liang Thow Ming at a recent symposium organized by the Chinese embassy, it would be a world class city sitting on the landmass being reclaimed from the sea astride the Colombo Seaport. He said his company was planning to attract investment to this financial hub which is the fulfilment of void between Singapore and Dubai as the key other financial centres in the region. It will offer financial services.
Once the reclamation is done, in order to complete the whole project, we will be able to attract another US $13 billion investment. That is based on today’s prices. We are building a world class city for South Asia. The objective of the project is very straight forward
“As we know, we are a US $1.4 billion FDI. Once the reclamation is done, in order to complete the whole project, we will be able to attract another US $13 billion investment. That is based on today’s prices. We are building a world class city for South Asia. The objective of the project is very straight forward,” he said.
Already, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed for the Colombo International Financial City. It is also a separate investment of US $1 billion.
“It will start work towards the end of this year to be completed in 2022. This is only one of the key projects we are looking at,” he said. In addition to the Financial City, there are several other projects outlined to be launched in the Port City area once the land area is reclaimed. One aspect is the development of tourism in the country. According to Mr. Liang, tourists visiting Sri Lanka do not stay in Colombo as such these days. Instead of spending their time in Colombo, they tend to travel in other parts of the country according to Mr. Liang. The Port City authorities plan for otherwise. Mr. Liang said he wanted tourists to spend more time and money in Colombo after arriving in Sri Lanka.
One component is the establishment of a commercial centre in this regard catering to a greater segment. Also, being planned is the setting up of a top class medical facility with 350 beds. A separate piece of land will be allotted for a world class international school.
Another plot of land is dedicated to an integrated resort with facilities for shipping and all. He said top world class hotels – one for a beach resort and the service apartment cum hotel facility, would be established.
There will be a marina in the Port City. Above all, Colombo is to get a two kilometre beach for the first time under this project. Not that alone, there will a lagoon within the breakwater of the Port City, ideally designed for sea sports. The Port City project was launched in 2014 at a function graced by Chinese President Xi Jinping. It was interpreted as a project with geopolitical connotation with the countries such as India initially expressing their displeasure.
The new government of Sri Lanka that took office in 2015 suspended the project and reviewed its terms and conditions. After renegotiation, the government resumed work. The project is now well on its way to completion. The embassy organized this symposium titled ‘From Millennium to the New Era- Jointly Build the Belt and Road and Embrace Sri Lanka’.
There will be a marina in the Port City. Above all, Colombo is to get a two kilometre beach for the first time under this project. Not that alone, there will a lagoon within the breakwater of the Port City, ideally designed for sea sports
The Belt and Road imitative is a massive project launched by China primarily for economic integration with the countries around the world. Sri Lanka is one among the countries that threw its weight behind China. China’s total investment amounts to US $15 billion in Sri Lanka.
The projects such as the Port City and Hambantota Port are vital investments linked up with the Belt and Road initiative for connectivity with the rest of the world.