Port City Colombo

Colombo International Financial City (Sinhala: කොළඹ ජාත්‍යන්තර මූල්‍ය නගරය, romanized: Koḷam̆ba Jātyantara Mūlya Nagaraya) is a special economic zone and International Financial Centre located in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which is currently under construction on reclaimed land adjacent to the Galle Face Green. The land reclamation work had been completed as of January 2018. In 2017, the cost was slated to be US$ 15 billion.[1] The project is part of China's Belt and Road initiative.[2]

Colombo International Finance City
(Port City Colombo)
An artist’s impression of the city at Galle Face
An artist’s impression of the city at Galle Face
Colombo International Finance City is located in Colombo Municipality
Colombo International Finance City
Colombo International Finance City
Location in Colombo
Colombo International Finance City is located in Colombo District
Colombo International Finance City
Colombo International Finance City
Location in Colombo District
Colombo International Finance City is located in Sri Lanka
Colombo International Finance City
Colombo International Finance City
Location in Sri Lanka
Coordinates: 06°56′00″N 79°50′00″E / 6.93333°N 79.83333°E / 6.93333; 79.83333Coordinates: 06°56′00″N 79°50′00″E / 6.93333°N 79.83333°E / 6.93333; 79.83333
CountrySri Lanka
 • Total2.69 km2 (1.04 sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (Sri Lanka Standard Time)

In May 2021, Parliament of Sri Lanka approved Port City Commission Bill to establish the Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone and Economic Commission.[3][4]


The finance city is to be constructed between the southern edge of the new Colombo South Port and the Fort Lighthouse. The total area of sea to be reclaimed is 269 ha (660 acres).[5][6]

Construction works at Portcity


The Port CityEdit

The Port City was claimed to be a concept of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was apparently inspired while inspecting the landfill being constructed for the Colombo South port.[6][7][8] The modern Port City was in fact a fully solicited proposal submitted by China Harbour Engineering Company based on previous proposals.[9]

Construction works at Portcity

The construction was set to begin in March 2011 but due to several circumstances the project was stopped. In mid 2012, the Sri Lankan Ports Authority (SLPA) announced that the construction of the then Colombo Port City project would commence on 17 September 2014. The budget was estimated to be $15 billion.[10]

The reclamation was to be carried out by China Harbor Engineering Corporation, who has been engaged by the investor. 125 ha (310 acres) was the land was given to government as well as 88 ha (220 acres) while owned by the government was planned to be leased for 99 years to the Chinese company. 20 ha (49 acres) was planned to be given freehold to the Chinese company.[11]

Construction of the Colombo Port City project was launched on 17 September 2014 by Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chinese President Xi Jinping.[12]

The port city has been criticised for several reasons.[8] Many environmentalists claim that the port city contains many environmental hazards and the adverse environmental impact of the project would be far greater than the economic benefits it may have to offer.[13] Maritime sector veterans also pointed out the dangers Sri Lanka may face due to giving outright ownership of land to China, especially in a high-security zone, and concerns about its effects on Sri Lanka's sovereignty have also been expressed.[14] The project was also criticized for its lack of transparency and irregularities such as the involvement of SLPA which is implementing the reclamation project, had no mandate to do so as its mandate is to deal with ports and shipping.[15][16]

The Colombo International Financial CentreEdit

Colombo Port City (land reclamation) seen from Galle road.

The port city was suspended after the fall of the Rajapaksa government due to issues related to sovereignty of Sri Lanka and adverse environmental impacts.[15][17][18]

The building complex was approved for construction in December 2018.[21] The city will use construction resources from the Colombo Harbour Expansion Project, currently under construction near the site of this proposed city.[22]


The inauguration of the project was in 2014 with a revised plan inaugurated in October 2019.[21][23] It is projected that the water reclamation would be completed in around twenty-eight months.[23] In 2017, it was predicted that the city would be completed by 2041.[1]

Land reclamationEdit

The port city would require around 269 hectares of reclaimed land. 116 hectares is owned by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), itself owned by the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), and the Government of Sri Lanka has set aside another 91 hectares for public spaces.[24]

Land reclamation in November 2015

At a question and answer section in July 2018, the Prime Minister stated that the land reclamation would be finished within one year and that construction should begin by next year, and that the government seeking assistance in establishing the legal construct for the administrative area.[25] This was successfully completed in January 2019 according to the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development.[24]

The project was around three months ahead of its targeted completion as of January 2019.[23]

Basic infrastructureEdit

China Daily reported in April 2019 that the hydrostructural construction would be complete by the middle of 2019, with the construction of municipal facilities being completed by July 2020.[26]

The Road Development Authority had sent approval for the new road network and piling work had begun for the nine bridged by January 2019.[27]


In December 2020, Sri Lankan conglomerate LOLC Holdings signed an agreement with China Harbour Engineering for a mixed development project, with the investment value totalling $1 billion. The project includes residential, commercial and retail assets set to break ground in mid-2021. This is the first major investment in Colombo Port City.[28]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Sri Lanka's $US15 billion "Port City Colombo" Marked for Completion in 2041". The Urban Developer. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  2. ^ Hundlani, Divya; Kannangara, Pabasara (7 May 2020). "The Belt and Road in Sri Lanka: Beyond the Debt Trap Discussion". The Diplomat. Retrieved 26 April 2021. ...the Colombo Port City project, initiated as part of China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative...
  3. ^ "Second Reading of Colombo Port City Commission bill passed". Daily News. 20 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Sri Lanka: Controversial 'Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act' Goes Into Effect". Stratfor. 2 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Port City to attract US$ 13 bn investment from 2018". Daily Mirror. 1 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Formula One Track To Be Built On Planned 'New Port City' Colombo". Thesundayleader.lk. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  7. ^ Philips, Rajan (5 December 2015). "The Megapolisation of Colombo:Is a compromise on Port City achievable?". The Island.
  8. ^ a b Wijeratne, Yudhanjaya. "This is the Colombo Port City?". www.icaruswept.com. Archived from the original on 25 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Critical Analyses of Colombo Port City Project". Daily Mirror. 16 December 2014.
  10. ^ Gamini Gunaratna, Sri Lanka News Paper by LankaPage.com (LLC)- Latest Hot News from Sri Lanka (30 July 2012). "Construction of Sri Lanka's port city to begin later this year". Colombopage.com. Archived from the original on 19 January 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Port City developer defends itself vigorously". The Island. 22 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Colombo Port City Project Launched". News.lk. 17 September 2014.
  13. ^ Gunasekara, Skhanda (21 June 2015). "Port City Project Environmental Time Bomb? 1.4 billion US dollar investment". Ceylon Today. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Sri Lankan Parliament Passes Colombo Port City Bill". www.indrastra.com. 28 May 2021. ISSN 2381-3652. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Outright land ownership to China at Port City dangerous, points out maritime sector veteran: Interview | Adaderana Biz English | Sri Lanka Business News". bizenglish.adaderana.lk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Sri Lanka expresses sovereignty concerns over Chinese port city project". www.economynext.com. 16 January 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Colombo Port City will be scrapped: Ranil". Daily Mirror. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Port city project will resume under new agreement". Colombo Gazette. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Sri Lanka to create special economic zone law, financial court, for Port City". Economynext. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  20. ^ Sirimanna, Bandula. "Constitutional amendment required for Port city laws". Sunday Times. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  21. ^ a b "$ 1 b Colombo financial city to kick off in Oct". Daily FT. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Tripartite agreement signed for CIFC". Daily Mirror. 12 August 2016.
  23. ^ a b c "Colombo Port City project is of great importance to us, says Chinese envoy". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Sri Lanka's Port City completes land reclamation". Colombo Page. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  25. ^ "CIFC laws before Cabinet in two months: PM". Daily FT. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  26. ^ "Belt and Road projects: Past, present, future". China Daily. 22 April 2019. p. 6. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Tripartite agreements for Port City investments". Daily FT. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  28. ^ "LOLC and CHEC to invest in Port City Colombo". Sunday Observer. 25 December 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2021.

External linksEdit