Mar 10, Colombo: A leading Chinese engineering contractor, China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CMC) has secured the contract to extend Sri Lanka's Southern Railway Line from Beliatta to Kataragama.
The US$ 600 million project will be funded by a loan from the Exim Bank of China.
Sri Lanka Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has said the decision to grant the contract to CMC was taken as the Exim Bank has agreed to grant a loan for the project, according to a report by Sunday Times.
The Minister has said that another reason was that the same construction company carried out the harbor and airport projects.
The extension of the new railway line from Matara to Kataragama will be carried out in three phases - Phase I from Matara to Beliatta, second phase from Beliatta to Hambantota and third phase from Hambantota to Kataragama.
In 2010, using Chinese government's preferential buyer's credit, the company has successfully undertaken the first phase of the Southern Railway Line extension project to construct the 28 kilometer segment from Matara to Beliatta with the contract value of approximately US$278 million.
Presently, the project has officially entered a substantive stage of implementation, CMC says.
The project is the first Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) railway engineering contracting project undertaken by a Chinese company in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan government expects the demand for transport between the Southern Province and other provinces of the country to increase due to rapid developments in the Southern region and operations of the Hambantota Port and Mattala Airport.
The project is scheduled to be completed by 2016.