Sri Lanka’s China managed Hambantota Port has inked a deal with Thailand’s Ranong port with a view to developing shipping routes in the region, the company said.
A joint working group will be established to develop coastal shipping in the Bay of Bengal between the two ports.
Ranong Port had recently signed an agreement with India’s Krishnapatnam port.
Hambantota International Port says it will support Thailand’s policy of boosting trade with India and Sri Lanka under the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
Thailand is currently following a policy to boost trade with India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka under the framework of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
“We are very happy to be a part of this initiative as it is looking at developing the BIMSTEC region to the benefit of all its partners,” Ray Ren, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) said in a statement.
“With HIP now coming strongly into this play, we can see it becoming an important nodal which will facilitate the movement of cargo not only in the region but also countries to the west of Sri Lanka.”
Hambantota is already transshipping Indian cars to Africa and the elsehwere. Thailand is also a key auto manufacturing hub.
HIPG says there are also potential in an industrial zone by the side of the Hambantota port.
“The industrial zone, which will be situated adjacent to the docks in the bonded area of the Hambantota Port is a totally new offering for the region,” Ren said.
“It will also make HIP the gateway port for the southern region of Sri Lanka.”
China has also revived the idea of building a canal across Thailand, which will reduce shipping times to China and Japan, and help by pass a choke point of the Malacca straits.