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Colombo Port Sri Lanka – a Few Interesting Facts

Colombo Port, Sri Lanka

Colombo Port is situated in Sri Lanka, on the southwestern shores of the Kelani River. It’s the largest and busiest port in Sri Lanka and an important terminal in Asia due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean. We share some interesting facts on this port and its surroundings.

Colombo Port is big and busy!

As one of the busiest in the world,  the port currently has a capacity of 7 million TEUs and a dredged depth of over 15 meters. It is one of the biggest artificial ports in the world and handles most of the country’s foreign trade. The port ranks amongst the top 25 ports in the world in terms of throughput, with an annual cargo tonnage of about 30.9 million tons.

It is steeped in history

The Port of Colombo was known to Arab, Roman and Chinese traders more than 2000 years ago! The Portuguese first discovered the Port of Colombo in 1505, when they first arrived at the island. By the 8thcentury, the Arab Muslin traders had settled in Colombo as a base for their trade for that part of the world. They make up the local Sri Lankan Moor community today.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority was created in 1980 and the harbor underwent a major transformation to handle containerized cargo. After the introduction of private sector operators in the 1990s, it secured its position as a major regional hub port for transshipment cargo. In 2008 the port commenced a large-scale expansion project to dramatically increase its capacity and capabilities.

The facilities at Colombo Port are impressive

The port facilities include:

  • 7 Feeder Berths
  • 7 Container Berths
  • 285 Terminal tractors and trailers
  • 14 Quay Cranes
  • 12 Super-Post Panamax Cranes
  • 2 Twin_lift Super-Post Panamax Cranes
  • 4 Wall-mounted Gantries
  • 78 Rubber-tyred Gantries
Colombo Port
Image courtesy of Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_Colombo#/media/File:LogosHope-ColomboHarbour-November2015-01.JPG

Colombo City home to some impressive landmarks

Colombo Port
Image from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Tower#/media/File:Lotus_tower.jpg

Colombo City is home to the second tallest building in South Asia, the Lotus Tower. According to Wikipedia (16 September 2019), the tower is the tallest self-supported structure in South Asia.


It is home to the Mahapola Ports & Maritime Academy

According to the Sri Lank Port Authority website, after the formation of the port authority in 1979, it revealed the necessity of establishing a fully equipped Training Institute. This undertakes skill and manpower requirements in all aspects of the port in compliance with the port developments taking place to help transform the Colombo Port into a leading Container Pivot Port in the region. Thus, the Mahapola Ports & Maritime Academy was born. It was first opened in 1987.

Image courtesy of Sri Lank Port Authority. Click for link.

The Port of Colombo is therefore certainly an area to add to your list of places to visit when you are in Sri Lanka!

For Underwater Maintenance service in the Port of Colombo, contact Port of  Call Consulting.