Maldivian yacht builders establish facility in Hambantota Port

Sea Horse Yachts (Pvt) Ltd. recently entered into an agreement with the Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) to set up a state-of-the-art yacht building facility at the port.

The agreement was signed by Johnson Liu, CEO, HIPG and Ali Hussain Didi, President, Sea Horse Yachts (Pvt) Ltd. at a signing ceremony held this week in the presence of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister and State Minister of Digital Technology and Entrepreneur Development Namal Rajapaksa and High Commissioner of Maldives to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak. 

The initial investment for the facility which will be located within the Hambantota International Port is set at approximately USD 58 million (Sri Lankan Rupees 11.5 billion) and production is set to commence by early 2022. The project is expected to generate over 200 direct employment opportunities and an additional 300 indirect employment opportunities.

The newly incorporated Sea Horse Yachts Ltd. (SHY), is a premium luxury yacht builder, located in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. SHY will be managed by a highly experienced team of experts from Sri Lanka, closely supported by British, European and South African innovators and designers.

The company is privately owned by boating enthusiasts from Maldives with extensive knowledge and experience in marine transportation and luxury yachting. They have a long history in boating and life at sea and will engage with international partners to establish the state-of-the-art yacht building factory in Sri Lanka.

Sports and Youth Affairs Minister and State Minister of Digital Technology and Entrepreneur Development Namal Rajapaksa speaking at the ceremony said, “The objective of our government is to promote Sri Lanka as a maritime and aviation hub in South Asia focusing on transshipment and manufacturing. This project is a landmark for the Yacht industry and for Yacht manufacturers as Sri Lanka has a rich history in boat building dating back to the times of our kings. Island nations such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives have always built their economies around trade and our proximity to ancient maritime routes which are still used to this day. We look forward to strengthening these and developing them to cater to the needs of a modern world. Ventures such as this will pave the way for the next generation of youth, providing them with the knowledge and the tools to build an entirely new industry and a new era of boat building! I hope it will serve as a catalyst to spark in our youth the entrepreneurial drive to take Sri Lanka to the next level.”

High Commissioner of Maldives to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak who was at the ceremony said it was noteworthy to mention that according to history, the first connection between Sri Lanka and Maldives made hundreds of years ago was through maritime relations.  “I understand  this new collaboration to build state of the art, modern, luxury, high-speed passenger boats & yachts would have the highest standards, and would use advanced composite materials and innovative technologies in boat building,” he said, adding that this initiative further cements strong trade bonds between the two countries.

Johnson Liu, CEO of HIPG, speaking at the ceremony, said the Hambantota Port Industrial Park is an international trade zone. “We are rapidly moving to diversify HIP’s industrial zone portfolio and at the same time we are widely promoting the location internationally. We have signed with more than 30 investors from across the globe i.e. UK, Singapore, Japan, Sri Lanka, China and now the Maldives. We provide on ground logistical and operational support for these new ventures so that they will be up and running within a short space of time. This is done under our new operational blueprint ‘HIPG Speed’. Our port industrial park team has assisted Sea Horse Yachts to obtain the necessary approvals from BOI, CEA, MEPA & CCD, and we will continue to provide further support, with land levelling, construction and operations etc.” 

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