The media was told at today’s (06) cabinet news briefing that port operations would begin on December 09.
A partnership agreement to expand operations and develop the port was signed on 29 July between Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka government, China Merchant Port Holdings (CM Port), Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) and Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS).
HIPG and HIPS will be responsible for the port’s operations.
CM Port will own 85 per cent of HIPG’s shares, while the SLFP will own 15 pc.
In HIPS, 58 pc of shares will be owned by HIPG and 42 pc by SLPA.
The Chinese company will give 1.1 billion US dollars to Sri Lanka to obtain the port on a 99 year lease.
The initial payment of 300 m USD will be made on December 09, said ports minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, followed by 100 m USD in January and the balance payment due within the next six months.
Also, the Chinese company will invest 600 m USD to develop the port.
Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said 400 workers to be removed from the port would be paid 5 ½ months’ salary and three times the compensation approved by the Labour Department.
In addition, they will be considered for the employment opportunities that will be generated in the new companies to be set up at the port, he said.
He added that another cabinet meeting is due tomorrow to give approval to another agreement relating to port operations.