Hambantota, August 10 (Xinhua/HIP): Sri Lanka’s Hambantota International Port (HIP) signed a 58-million-U.S. dollar deal with Maldivian company Sea Horse Yachts on Monday to assemble and export yachts from HIP’s industrial park.
Namal Rajapaksa, minister of youth and sports and state minister of digital technology and enterprise development, told Xinhua that the project would be a stepping stone for bigger investments in the local maritime industry, and for establishing Sri Lanka as a yacht-building nation.
He later tweeted that the project is expected to generate 500 jobs.
Rajapaksa said that the Hambantota Port was fully equipped with all the infrastructure needed to attract investment, and that the government was working on improving the ease of doing business and expanding technical and vocational training for the maritime sector.
“The objective of our government is to promote Sri Lanka as a maritime and aviation hub in South Asia focusing on transshipment and manufacturing. This project is a landmark for the Yacht industry and for Yacht manufacturers as Sri Lanka has a rich history in boat building dating back to the times of our kings. Island nations such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives have always built their economies around trade and our proximity to ancient maritime routes which are still used to this day. We look forward to strengthening these and developing them to cater to the needs of a modern world. Ventures such as this will pave the way for the next generation of youth, providing them with the knowledge and the tools to build an entirely new industry and a new era of boat building! I hope it will serve as a catalyst to spark in our youth the entrepreneurial drive to take Sri Lanka to the next level,” Namal Rajapaksa said.
High Commissioner of Maldives to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak who was at the ceremony said it was noteworthy to mention that according to history, the first connection between Sri Lanka and Maldives made hundreds of years ago was through maritime relations.
“I understand this new collaboration to build state of the art, modern, luxury, high-speed passenger boats & yachts would have the highest standards, and would use advanced composite materials and innovative technologies in boat building,” he said, adding that this initiative further cements strong trade bonds between the two countries,” Razzak said.
Johnson Liu, CEO of HIPG, speaking at the ceremony, said the Hambantota Port Industrial Park is an international trade zone. “We are rapidly moving to diversify HIP’s industrial zone portfolio and at the same time we are widely promoting the location internationally. We have signed with more than 30 investors from across the globe i.e. UK, Singapore, Japan, Sri Lanka, China and now the Maldives. We provide on ground logistical and operational support for these new ventures so that they will be up and running within a short space of time. This is done under our new operational blueprint ‘HIPG Speed’. Our port industrial park team has assisted Sea Horse Yachts to obtain the necessary approvals from BOI, CEA, MEPA & CCD, and we will continue to provide further support, with land levelling, construction and operations etc.”