Work at Hambantota Port is to commence on December 8, the Sri Lankan prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday, the Daily Mirror reported.
The project is being jointly managed by China Merchants Port Holding Company (CMPH) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
"It was the Chinese President who suggested forming a joint venture between the Sri Lankan Government and Chinese Company," Mr Wickremesinghe told people at an event in Deniyaya.
He explained that "the Government was thinking of closing the port down as there were no funds to operate it."
"Sri Lanka had no way of using the revenue generated from Colombo Port any longer and there was a dire need to think of another option."