The Sri Lankan Cabinet has decided to renovate Kankesanthurai Port in the Northern Province with India agreeing to meet the entire cost of the project, a statement said on Tuesday.

Situated in the northern region of Sri Lanka, the 16-acre Kankesanthurai Port or KKS Port, is located 104 km (56 nautical miles) from Karaikal Port in Pondicherry, India.

The direct passenger ship service connecting Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to Kankesanthurai port near Jaffna covers 111 km (60 nautical miles) in about 3.5 hours.

"Considering the importance of the project, the Indian government has agreed to grant the entire estimated cost of the project,” the statement said.

It added that the project had been delayed as the economic value of equity (EVE) estimated cost provided by consulting service agencies was higher than the loan amount.

“Therefore, further discussions have been held with the Government of India regarding the possibility of completing the project under the public-private partnership method," the statement said.

The original cabinet approval for the project came on May 2, 2017.

Thereafter, the approval for offering project management consultant services was given on December 18, 2019.

It was announced in March this year that the project's full cost was $61.5 million.