The Port of Hambantota also known as the Magampura Port is a maritime port in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. The first phase of the port was opened on 18 November 2010, with the first ceremonial berthing of the naval ship "Jetliner" to use the port facilities. Hambantota Port is built inland and operated by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Construction of the port began in January 2008. It will be Sri Lanka’s largest port, after the Port of Colombo. The Port of Hambantota will service ships traveling along one of World's most busiest shipping lines - the east-west shipping route which passes six to ten nautical miles (19 km) south of Hambantota. The first phase of the port project will provide bunkering, ship repair, ship building, and crew changes facilities. Later phases will raise capacity of the port up to 20 million TEUs per year. When completed, the port will be the biggest port constructed on land to date in the 21st century.
The first phase of the Port of Hambantota will consist of two 600m general purpose berths, a 310m bunkering berth and a 120m small craft berth. It will also contain a bunkering facility and tank farm which will include 8 tanks for marine fuel, 3 tanks containing aviation fuel and 3 for Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG). A 15 floor administrative complex will also be constructed as part of the project.
The mouth of the natural harbor at Hambantota has a 22m depth. When completed, the port will have a 1.5 km long breakwater, with a minimum basin depth of 17m. This is compared to the 15.5m depth of the Port of Colombo. The turning circle will be 600m. A dam will also be built to prevent flooding in nearby areas, and a seawall made of interlocking concrete blocks will protect the port from high seas. A $550 million tax-free port zone is being set up outside the port, with local and international companies expressing interest in setting up shipbuilding, ship-repair and warehousing facilities in the zone. It is expected to be completed by November 2010. The finished project is expected to provide indirect employment to over 50,000 people.
Sri Lanka is situated along the key shipping route between the Malacca Straits and the Suez Canal, which links Asia and Europe. An estimated 36,000 ships, including 4,500 oil tankers, use the route annually. However the only major port in Sri Lanka, the Port of Colombo is catered towards container handling and is unable to provide facilities for port related industries and services. Therefore a new port was proposed near the city of Hambantota, which has a natural harbor and is located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka close to international shipping routes.
A new port will help relieve pressure on the Colombo port, and also provide services to ships that normally take three-and-a-half day detours from their shipping lanes to receive these services, including refueling, maintenance, logistics and buying provisions and medical supplies Proposals to build a port in Hambantota date back over three decades, but plans never got out of conceptual stages. The Port of Hambantota project was finally launched after Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is a native of Hambantota, was elected President of Sri Lanka in 2005.