Ports Development in Sri Lanka Towards a Logistics Hub
On Saturday 28th August 2010, a group of 25 CBB Members and guests assembled at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Project Office in Hambantota at 9:30 am to start the field trip of the area.

First stop was the SLPA Project Office to get a briefing from Mr. Nanayakkara about the overall port project by way of a scale model. We were then taken on a site visit, and it is fair to say that all participants were amazed by the scale of the project. Water is still only trickling in and dumper trucks were whizzing back and forth with sand, whilst the excavation continues. They are working 24 hours a day and expect the harbour to be filled and the first ship docked in November 2010.

Next stop after a 22km drive was to the new cricket stadium. Amazingly the turf is already laid (albeit with some wild patches in the centre) but Pakistan is scheduled to play a match there in late September 2010. Capacity will be 40,000.

Then it was back into town to see the new Convention Centre. The main structure is built and is seriously impressive - made to a Korean design and with a donation from the Korean Government. It is expected to open in April 2011 and will hold 1,500 people and have the ability to hold several smaller functions in 8 committee rooms.

Finally we went to the Hambantota Chamber of Commerce where we met up with Mr. Azmi Thassim, Director General of the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce who showed us a comprehensive video of the Chambers activities and suggestions of how we could collaborate with them - even potentially the ELT project. The Chamber will shortly be embarking on a trade mission to the UK as guests of the Manchester CoC.

All in all a hectic, but very interesting programme with good feed back from participants, and a much better understanding of the scale and complexity of the project down south.

Many thanks to Romesh David for making the arrangements and Andrea from the CBB and Nilanthi from the Hambantota Chamber for the organiz,ation.