Fully functional Kankesanthurai Harbour by February 2023


Development work at the Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour is scheduled to be completed on 23 February 2023 with nearly 35% of the work being completed up to now since October 2020, The Sunday Morning Business learns. 

Kankesanthurai port to be developed

Responding to an email sent by us, Sri Lanka Ports Development Authority (SLPA) Acting Chief Engineer – Development A.L.M. Nowfer stated that due to several unavoidable circumstances at present, the initial design period of nine months has been extended till 23 August 2021, after which the construction work will commence for 18 months as scheduled. 

“Due to the prevailing pandemic condition in Sri Lanka as well as in India, certain fieldwork in Sri Lanka/in-house work in India can’t be performed at the scheduled speed. Therefore, further time extensions for the consultancy contract may have to be granted subject to providing valued justifications by the consultant,” Nowfer said. 

When inquired about the key developments that are scheduled to be completed at the KKS Harbour, Nowfer highlighted that there are five main activities, namely: the construction of a new commercial berth, Pier No. 3 (size 167 m x 22 m); rehabilitation of the existing breakwater (1,400 m); rehabilitation of the existing Pier No. 1 (size 96 m x 24 m); construction of Pier No. 2 (extension of existing Pier No. 1, size 85 m x 24 m); and finally, the completion of infrastructure facilities such as navigational aids, a concrete road on the breakwater, etc.

“As per the project management consultancy contract signed between the two parties (Sri Lanka and India), the project duration is 39 months in total: the design work is nine months, construction work 18 months, and the defect liability period is 12 months,” he added. 

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Furthermore, to fund the project work, the Government of Sri Lanka has entered into a dollar credit line agreement with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India and obtained financial assistance of $ 45.27 million.

As per the decision of the Government to position the KKS Harbour as a main commercial port in Sri Lanka, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to further develop the harbour in February 2020, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson and Plantation Industries and Export Agriculture Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said.

The proposal was submitted by former Ports and Shipping Minister Johnston Fernando to acquire 50 acres of land adjoining the Kankesanthurai Harbour for the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA).

Dr. Pathirana further said that Cabinet approval was granted to acquire 15 acres of public land and 35 acres of privately owned land for this purpose. The privately owned land will be acquired by paying compensation as specified under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act.

“With the development of this port, people in the North would be able to easily distribute their farming, livestock, and fisheries products islandwide,” Dr. Pathirana added.  

Meanwhile, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and an agreement on 21 July 2020 between India and Sri Lanka for the rehabilitation of the KKS Harbour, the Indian High Commission in Colombo, issuing a press release, stated: “The restoration of the physical infrastructure at the harbour would contribute towards the reconstruction efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka, promote normalcy in northern Sri Lanka by restoring traditional commercial linkages, both domestic and regional, and give a fillip to economic activity by encouraging trade.”

It added that with the assistance of the Indian Government, Kankesanthurai would become a bigger and better port and be able to function as the hub of economic development in the Northern Province. Subsequently, once fully functional, the KKS Harbour will be the nearest port for all eastern ports in India, as well as for Myanmar and Bangladesh.


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