China-funded Colombo Port City becoming 'shining pearl of Indian Ocean'

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-04-08 10:37

COLOMBO - With Jun Hai 1, Asia's largest trailing suction hopper dredger joining the construction fleet, the land reclamation of Colombo Port City, as a future city and long awaited by Sri Lankans, has been proceeded rapidly.

The $1.4 billion project, which is currently under construction near the Colombo Harbor, is Sri Lanka's largest foreign direct investment (FDI).

"As a Sri Lankan, I feel so proud that I can be participating in the project and really look forward to the completion of the project as early as possible, so that it would bring new opportunities to our people and our motherland which has just recovered from a 30-year civil war," Chandana Gunawardena, deputy project manager of the Colombo Port City Project, told Xinhua on Thursday.

This brand-new "financial city" is taking shape gradually from the sea area right beside the Colombo International Container Terminals, which is being operated by the China Merchants Ports Holdings.

Because of Colombo Port City, Chandana now has a stable job and a good outlook in his career.

He said the mega-project would boost the country's economic development via spurring FDI and the private sector's growth.

"By making Colombo a better city, Colombo Port City will attract more and more Sri Lankan diaspora back to their homeland," he said.

Chandana believed that the project is going to transfer Colombo to an important commercial hub in South Asia and "a shining pearl of the Indian Ocean."

Invested and developed by the China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC), Colombo Port City is the largest project between China and Sri Lanka under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, especially the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, known as Belt and Road Initiative, were proposed in 2013 with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

Most of local construction and technical employees at the Port City project told Xinhua that the China-funded project has brought about jobs, higher salary and a better life, making them to be confident with their future careers.

"Colombo Port City is a key project in South Asia under the Belt and Road Initiative and it has well matched Sri Lanka's Western Megapolis development strategy," CCCC Chairman Liu Qitao told Xinhua.

"With investment of $1.4 billion, Phase 1 project has land reclamation of 269 hectares, out of which there will be 178-hectare developable land for commercial developments," he said.

"The total Gross Floor Area (GFA) will come up to 5.65 million sq meters, including residence, hotel, office and retail mall among others. Other iconic developments in the project include theme park, yacht marina, central park, medical center, international school and sand beach ect," Liu said. "These will attract further $13 billion investment of property developments within the city."

Liu belived the construction of Colombo Port City will not only contribute to Sri Lakan's socio-economic development, but also play an exemplary role in attracting foreign investment, and furthermore, it will attract international high-end professionals and introduce world's advanced technology so as to promote the competitiveness of local enterprise.

The construction of the Port City will also create job opportunities for the locals, with a total of 83,000 jobs expected in the 20 years from implementation to completion of the project, he claimed.

"As a father, I expect my kids to work in this city with a promising future, make contributions to the country while achieving their own career goals," Chandana said hopefully.

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