Hambantota International Port — No Longer a White Elephant

Commercial & Marketing

Eighteen months to the formation of HIPG, the public private partnership between CMPort and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), to manage the Hambantota International Port (HIP), the company has made phenomenal progress.  They have successfully turned it around, bringing the port into the limelight and strategically positioning it within the international ports & shipping industry. 

Groups of potential investors are visiting the now thriving port to determine its forward development plans and to see what synergies HIP would bring to the overall maritime map.  The first signs of visible progress were seen with the 9-storey administration building of the port, the Hambantota Maritime Centre, becoming 95 percent occupied.  The building is almost filled to its capacity, with leading industry players renting office space.

“The Hambantota Port which was previously looked at as a white elephant, would shortly become a vibrant contributor to the GDP of Sri Lanka, which was always our goal.  HIP which will be offering different options to logistics and shipping customers, will be playing a parallel role to Colombo under the SLPA flag,” says Tissa Wickremasinghe COO of HIPG.

“Our development plans have been showcased and our brand strengthened in the many international forums we have represented, such as Lloyds of London, ‘Transport & Logistics 2019’ in Munich Germany, and more recently a seminar held in Thailand.  There is a continuous stream of international delegates from countries including France, USA, UK, Germany and Japan visiting the port to understand our potential and we have entered into a number of strategic partnerships that add value to our customers.  Given that, it is no surprise that organisations are looking at modern office space to position themselves in Hambantota, and the Hambantota Maritime Centre would be the obvious choice,” Wickremasinghe said.

HIPG’s General Manager, Port Related Industries – Tim Xiao says that the Hambantota Maritime Centre provides tenants with all the modern amenities combined with attractive spaces.  “The Maritime Center is nearly at full occupancy and the support we have received from our partners who are using our space to position their business on an international platform has been encouraging. Our tenants include leading shipping agencies such as Hayleys Advantis, Aitken Spence, Hamka Shipping, Ceyline Shipping, financial institutions NDB & People’s Bank, Technology companies like Dialog and a number of conglomerates involved in various fields such as Sinopec Oil & Sales company.  We are very excited to see the new change the port is bringing to the area.  With so many organisations taking up residence in Hambantota there would be many advantages, for entrepreneurs as well as youth in the area who would benefit from job opportunities that are bound to open up.” 

Xiao adds that amongst the many benefits available to the Maritime Center tenants, is the One Stop Shop (OSS) set up by the BOI, facilitating ease of business for investors looking at port services as well as the adjacent Industrial Park. The OSS provides a single window facility, with the BOI as the conduit to access all key government institutions, a significant benefit to investors looking at taking advantage of opportunities in the Industrial park.  The General Manager says the companies who are currently occupying the Hambantota Maritime Center are all aligned with expanding their business opportunities and are very much in sync with the economic progress the port is bringing to the area. “All the organisations occupying the building are well aware of the potential of their location.  We have just one more slot left and are waiting for the right partner, who would fit in with the current dynamic mix of the Hambantota Maritime Center.”