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Sri Lankan PM visits Chinese-built Colombo port

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Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa called for the construction of a multi-billion-U.S. dollar Colombo Port City project to be accelerated, saying it is a landmark in the island country and will be the main income generator for the future.

September 17, Rajapaksa inspected the port city's construction site, in the heart of capital Colombo, to mark the sixth anniversary since the project, jointly developed by the Sri Lankan government and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, was launched in 2014.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa toured the project along with Hu Wei, charge d'Affaires of the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka. The prime minister said he hoped that the project would be completed soon, so that it would be a major economic boost for the country.

"Six years ago, I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Port City project. I am more than glad to see the progress we've made today. As the new landmark of Sri Lanka, Port City Colombo will drive the development of the country, and leave precious legacy to our future generations," said the prime minister.

Rajapaksa, together with several government ministers, visited the marina area, the beachfront and the central garden of the Port City. The construction continued amid COVID-19 pandemic, with all safety protocols in place.

"It will be a completely new city that will nearly double the size of Colombo right now," said Janaka Wijesundara, a former director at Sri Lanka's Urban Development. "It can drastically change the entire landmass."

Sri Lanka is considered one of the key hubs under the The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework. Since 2013, China has invested approximately 8.5 billion U.S. dollars in transport and logistics on the island country.

The port city is a new development project as an extension of the Central Business District of Sri Lanka's vibrant commercial capital, Colombo. According to CHEC, the port spanned 269 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea, and will be South Asia's premiere residential, retail and business destination off the Indian Ocean. The project will comprise five different precincts - the Financial District, Central Park Living, Island Living, The Marina and the International Island.

Cover image - Port City Colombo in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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