Sri Lanka has officially handed over its main port in the southern region of the country and received US$292 million out of a deal which totals $1.12 billion.
China Merchants Port Holdings secured the Chinese-built Hambantota Port on a 99-year lease after completing its construction in mid-2017.
Given that Hambantota Port is strategically located next to the primary shipping route from Asia to Europe, it is highly likely that the port will be a vital node within China’s “Belt and Road” initiative.
Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said of the deal: “Today we received $292 million as the first tranche of the Hambantota Port joint venture. This is but the first step in realising the true commercial value of the port after seven long years.”
Read a technical paper of Olaf Merk of the International Transport Forum on China’s One Belt, One Road initiative
China has long harboured plans to dominate the world of Asian – and increasingly world – trade by expanding its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
Via OBOR, China plans to ignite historic trading routes and form new ones as it strives to have an international supply chain in its own mould.
After facing some early competition from India, China has accelerated its plans and has stakes in or owns ports across Asia and Africa.