History

With a proud maritime history that takes us approximately 2000 years back in time, The Port of Colombo had a pivotal role in the ancient spice route. The harbour was first used by Arabs, Chinese and Roman merchants who arrived on the island to trade its spices.

The country came under the rule of colonisers in the year of 1505 and the Portuguese were the first to have control of the port. In the year 1656, the Dutch gained control and finally, the port fell into the hands of the British in 1796. The last colonisers – The British were instrumental in bringing the harbour to meet international standards and assisting in improving the cargo flow, since they added some major improvements to the port during the latter part of their reign.

After the country gained independence in the year of 1948 the harbour was reinforced with several upgrades in the subsequent years. The first upgrade expanded the port with the construction of the iconic Queen Elizabeth Quay with multiple warehouses; transit sheds and 16 berths alongside the quay. The second transformed the harbour making it capable to handle containerised cargo from the year of 1980. With the addition of gantries, cranes, and a deepened access channel, the Port of Colombo came into the spotlight as a super strategic hub and a contemporary container terminal during the early 90s. The port’s strategic location also gave it a comparative advantage over any others in the region.

Today, the terminals offer class-leading services to its patrons and operate at maximum efficiency ranking it among the top 30 container ports in the world.