(EnergyAsia, June 26 2012, Tuesday) — A private company is set to become Sri Lanka’s largest private investor if and when it completes its US$4 billion programme to develop a heavy industry zone and infrastructure in Sri Lanka’s north-eastern Trincomalee harbour.

According to the state Board of Investment (BOI), Sri Lanka Gateway Industries Pvt Ltd has signed an agreement to build a deep water jetty, bulk commodities terminal with stockpiling and blending capabilities, a power generation plant and road system.

In a statement, the BOI said the project will qualify for tax concessions and will be implemented in three phases, but did not specify when it is expected to start and end.

Prabath Nanayakkara, chairman of Sri Lanka Gateway Industries, said the project venture will “change the economic landscape of the island” while BOI chief M.M.C. Ferdinando described said the deal as a sign of “growing international investor confidence in Sri Lanka.”

Mr Nanayakkara said the industrial zone will attract foreign investors from Japan, China, India, the US, Brazil and Australia, and will create 5,000 direct jobs and over 20,000 indirect ones.

The port recently secured a US$35 million investment from Lanka IOC (LIOC), a local joint-venture oil company between Sri Lanka and the Indian Oil Corp, to expand oil storage terminal.

With its growing role as an international transhipment centre and port, Trincomalee has seen rising demand for fuel storage and blending.

LIOC has begun work on expanding and upgrading an ageing oil tank farm in the port that was built in the 1940s. The facility has been left in disrepair from the 1970s when Sri Lanka was plunged into a devastating civil war that ended in 2009.