Economic Overview

7. Fast Developing Infrastructure

The Sri Lankan government has launched an ambitious program of physical infrastructure development to completely upgrade the sea, air, road, power and telecom backbone of the country. The following are the main features of this program:

1. Sea Port and Airport Development

The Sri Lankan government has declared its intention to develop the country as a leading regional aviation, navigation and trading hub in South Asia. Therefore, the development of maritime & aviation transportation is at the forefront of the government's infrastructure development agenda. The focus of these developments is to expand the capacity and improve the efficiency of existing ports through modernization and construction of new ports and airports in strategic locations.

Major Sea Port and Airport development projects in progress:

  • Colombo South Port Expansion
    The Colombo South Port expansion project with three terminals, each terminal having capacity of 2.4 million TEUs per annum, will increase the capacity of the Colombo Port by 160% upon completion. Construction work of the breakwater has been completed. The first terminal, a join venture between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and China Merchant Holdings Ltd, was built under a 35 year build operate and transfer agreement with SLPA. The terminal was opened for commercial operation on 5th August 2013.

  • Hambantota Port Development
    Phase I of the project, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Magampura Port, was inaugurated in November 2010. The port is expected initially to function as a service and industrial port and later be developed to handle transshipment cargo. Phase II of the port is underway at an estimated cost of US$ 800 Mn. The port is ideally located to serve the main East-West shipping lane connecting Europe and the Middle-east with South East Asia.

  • Expansion of Bandaranaike International Airport
    A project is under way to expand the island’s first international airport at Katunayake, 35 km north of Colombo. The project includes the expansion of the transit area, construction of new baggage-reclaim area, multi storied car park and widening of the existing runway. A feasibility study is being carried out for a second runway.

  • Development of a second International airport at Mattala
    The construction of the new international airport at Mattala in the southern Hambantota district is carried in two phases. The first phase was completed and opened on 18th March 2013. That includes one runway and a taxi way that will be expanded in the second stage to allow for larger planes, including the latest airbus A380, to land. This air port will open up the vast southern and eastern areas of Sri Lanka for development including tourism projects. The airport will be in close proximity to the Hambantota port..

2. Development of High Mobility Road Network

Road development in the country, which was left behind last few decades due to the war, has been given prominence by the government. The national Road Master Plan has already been prepared, which focuses on the construction of highways, widening of highways, reduction of traffic congestion, road maintenance & rehabilitation and bridge rehabilitation & reconstruction.

It has become an urgent necessity for further investment in road network, thus the development of road network has become a major determinant factor in attracting new investments to the country.

Major road development projects in progress;

  • Colombo - Katunayake Expressway CKE (25km)
    Construction was complated and opened for the public on 27th of October 2013by his Excellency the president Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse. The CKE will reduce the traveltime between peliyagoda and Katunayake to 20 minutes from the earlier time of 1.5 hours using Peliyagoda- Puttalam road (A003). TheQuike travel between the Bandaranaike International Airport and the Capital of the country with enhanced safety will surely help to boost the country's economy in addition to provideing pleasant travel to the road users.

  • Southern Highway (126km)
    The Section of Southern Expressway from Pinnaduwa (Galle) to Godagama (Matara) has been opened to public on 15th March 201. The Section from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa (Galle) was complated in November 2011 and is in operation at present.
    This Section also consist of 4-lane capacity similar to the earlier section from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa. The Maximum operating speed for this section is also 100 kmph. It is expected to the Southern Expressway from Matara to Hambantota withthe intention of linking Mattala Airport and Hambantota Harbour to the Commercial Capital, Colombo in future.

  • Outer Circular Highway - OCH (29.2km)
    The outer Circuler Highway (OCH) is located in the Colombo Metropolitan Region and passes through two administrative districts, namely Colombo and Gampaha. This Highway runs around 20 km away from the City center of Colombo, connecting radial routes and has a total length of 29.2 km. The northern end of the highway is located at Kerawalapitiya on Colombo -Katunayake Expressway and the southern end in located at Kottawa on Colombo - Ratnapura - Wellawaya - Batticaloa (A004) road where Southern Expressway meet OCH.
  • The expressway is implemented in three phases as given below;

    Phase 1: Section from Kottawa to Kaduwela - 11km

    Phase 2: Section from Kaduwela to Kadawatha - 8.9km

    Phase 3: Section from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya - 9.3km

    Total length - 29.2km

    phase1 complated and open for public in March 2014.

  • Colombo - Kandy Highway (98km)
    A highway connecting Colombo with the central hill capital of Kandy is being undertaken. Field surveys have been completed and design and land acquisitions are in progress. Phase I of the project from Enderamulla to Ambepussa will be commenced in 2013 with the Chinese assistance. Expected cost would be US$1 billion (Rs. 130 billion)

3. Power & Energy

Development of power & energy sector is a key aspect of the government's infrastructure development agenda and long term strategies have been introduced with active participation of the private sector, as a key component.

Major power projects in progress

Ambitions planes are under way to increase the national grid from 2817 MW to 4732 MW (by 2016) and to reduce the cost of generation by harnessing the latest clean coal technology.

  • Norochcholai Coal Power Project
    The construction of first phase of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (300 MW) was completed by end of 2010 and was added to the national grid by end of March 2011. The second phase will add another 600 MW to the national grid by 2014.

  • Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Project (UKHP)
    The upper Kothmale project will have an installed capacity of 150MW (consisting of two 75MW units). Construction of the project was completed and connected to the national grid on14th July 2011.

  • Trincomalee Coal Power Project
    Agreement is being finalized to develop 2X250 MW coal power plants in Trincomalee as a joint venture between the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC) of India. Construction work is scheduled to commence in 2013 and power generation will be linked to the national grid by mid 2016.

4. Telecommunication Infrastructure Development

    Sri Lanka is connected to the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE IV) project, the submarine cable system linking South East Asia to Europe via the Indian Sub-Continent and Middle East. The project aims to take these regions to the forefront of global communication by significantly increasing the bandwidth and global connectivity of users along its route between Singapore and France.

    SEA-ME-WE 4 fiber optics cables provide a bandwidth capacity of 1.28 terabits per second, with a 25 year guaranteed lifespan for the technology. This revolutionary submarine cable system offers Sri Lanka an immense bandwidth advantage, and paves the way to make Sri Lanka a globally competitive business hub.