"The project will be a state of the art marine venture and will result in benefits for Sri Lanka such as technology transfers, increase in foreign exchange and creating 1,500 direct employment opportunities. The company is confident that the project will further generate 2,000 indirect employment opportunities, the BOI said in a statement.
"The main attraction for the Saudi investor was the strategic location of Sri Lanka, at the crossroads of many of the world’s shipping lines, which makes the Port of Galle suitable for ship repair and shipbuilding. The company having evaluated the infrastructure, signed up an agreement with the BOI to set up Seagulf Shipyard (Pvt) Ltd (Sri Lanka) and would invest more than US$ 44 million," the investment facilitating agency said.
This agreement was signed by M.M.C Ferdinando, Chairman/Director General of BOI and Hadi Hamad Al-Hammam, President of the Hadi Hamad Al-Hammam Group of Saudi Arabia.
"This agreement is significant as it is the first investment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to operate under the BOI regime. Both the BOI Chairman/ Director General and Hadi Al-Hammam were confident that this project will generate interest for further Saudi Arabian and other Gulf Investment in Sri Lanka," the BOI said.
Hadi Hamad Al-Hammam replied that he was pleased to invest in Sri Lanka and that many enterprises in Saudi Arabia were now looking at Sri Lanka for investment and trade.
The company evaluated the infrastructure at the harbour and the availability of skilled workers and concluded that these were very suitable for their project. Their work will be geared towards repairing and maintaining vessels such as shipping boats, yachts and tourism related boats, the BOI said.
"The facilities at Galle can service vessels from the region and beyond. One possibility is for Galle to service Maldivian vessels, which currently sail as far as Indonesia and Thailand for their maintenance. The project will also create employment for marine engineers and maintenance in ship repair and shipbuilding worldwide.
"Since the company has specifically identified the maintenance of yachts as one of its areas of activities, this heralds well for the development of high-end tourism in the Galle area. The harbour will be used for berthing, repair of yachts and other pleasure craft. The project plan includes a dedicated area to the east of the new jetty for this purpose," the BOI said.