Why Sri Lanka

Economic Overview / Sri Lanka Facts & Figures

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:

  • 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.

    The bunkering facilities at the Port of Hambantota, set up at a cost of US$ 76.5 million, and the tank farm has commenced commercial operations. Out of the 14 tanks it has, eight tanks will be used to store marine fuel, three will store aviation fuel and three remaining tanks will be used to store liquid petroleum.

    The aviation fuel stored in the Hambantota Port is to be used for the Mattala Airport, the second international airport currently being built in Hambantota.

  • 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:

  • Colombo - Katunayake Expressway - CKE (25km)

    The Colombo – Katunayake Expressway connects the Colombo City and the International Airport at Katunayake. It consists of four Interchanges at New Kelani Bridge, Peliyagoda, Ja-Ela and Katunayake. The Contract value of the project is US$ 292 Mn. Construction was completed and opened for the public on 27th of October 2013 by his Excellency the president Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse. The CKE will reduce the travel time between Peliyagoda and Katunayake to 20 minutes from the earlier time of 1.5 hours using Peliyagoda-Puttalam road (A003). The quick 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 providing pleasant travel to the road users.

  • Southern Highway (126km)

    The Southern Expressway is the longest expressway being built in Sri Lanka. The construction of a four-lane highway from Colombo to Matara will be a catalyst for the economic and social development of the Southern region and promotion of and inter-regional transport network. The highway was opened for public on 27th November 2011.

    The section of Southern Expressway from Pinnaduwa (Galle) to Godagama (Matara) has been opened to public on 15th March 2014. This section also consists of 4-lane capacity similar to the earlier section from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa. The maximum operating speed for this section is also 100 kmph. Now the Southern Expressway from Kottawa to Godagama (Matara) is in operation. It is expected to extend the Southern Expressway from Matara to Hambantota with the intention of linking Mattala Airport and Hambantota Harbour to the Commercial Capital, Colombo in future.

  • Outer Circular Highway - OCH (29.2km)

    The outer Circular 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 centre 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 is located at Kottawa on Colombo-Ratnapura-Wellawaya-Batticaloa (A004) road where Southern Expressway meets OCH. Outer Circular highway from Kottwawa to Kerawalapitiya will link seven trunk roads and the Colombo – Katunayake and the Southern Expressways.

    The expressway is implemented in three phases as given below;

    Phase 1: Section from Kottawa to Kaduwela (11km) - Commenced in December 2009. (Phase 1 completed and opened for public in March 2014)

    Phase 2: Section from Kaduwela to Kadawatha (8.9km) - Commenced in 2012.

    Phase 3: Section from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya (9.2km)

  • Colombo - Kandy Highway (99km)

    The proposed North – East Expressway (Colombo – Kandy Expressway) begins at Kadawatha of the present Colombo – Kandy (A1) Road (at the access point of the Outer Circular Highway) and links with Katugastota– Kurunegala – Puttalam (A10) road at Hedeniya and Kandy– Jaffna road (A9) at Katugastota. The length of this road is 99 km. Construction of the North - East Expressway is mainly divided into two construction phases viz. Phase I (Kadawatha–Ambepussa) – 48.2 km and Phase II (Ambepussa– Katugastota) -50.7 km.

    The expressway is expected to be built as a privately financed toll road and will be later expanded to Jaffna and Trincomalee.

    The cost for the first phase of the road project is estimated to be one billion US dollars..

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.

  • 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

    Sri Lanka's second coal fired thermal power plant is implemented as a joint venture of Ceylon Electricity Board and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India. The Joint Venture Company has been incorporated as Trincomalee Power Company Limited on 6th September 2011. Trincomalee Power Company Limited is responsible for implementation and operation of the 2 X 250MW coal power plant in Sampur. The total estimated cost of the project would be USD 512 Million.

    The Sampoor Coal Power Plant will comprise two 250 MW power generators. The power generated will be transmitted to the national grid through high voltage transmission lines from Sampoor through Habarana to the Veyangoda Grid Substations.

    Power Purchase Agreement, Implementation Agreement, BOI Agreement, Land Lease Agreement and Coal Supply Agreement were signed on 07 October 2013 by relevant parties including GOSL, CEB and JV Company. Project is expected to be commissioned before end of 2017.

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.