China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPort) has invested $974 million in the Hambantota International Port (HIP), and owns 85 percent of the shares. The port is held on a 99-year lease granted by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to develop, manage and operate the port area.

Yes. 96% of the staff members are Sri Lankans, including several in senior management positions. All staff members are offered comprehensive training to upgrade their skills to international standards.

A brand new Master Plan is being formulated in keeping with the changes in the maritime/port industry which are taking place worldwide. This plan will maximise the benefits of the free port policy and strategic access to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes located just a few nautical miles south of the port. Several international companies have already commenced operations at the Hambantota International Port and industrial park.

SL Navy has been appointed by the Government to be in charge of security in and around the port premises. This is in keeping with the recommendations of the International Ship and Port Security Regulations (ISPS).

No rent is charged from the SL Navy. They are provided all amenities required for their presence and carrying out duties in the port.

The name of the port is Hambantota International Port.

Yes, the port provides bunkering facilities. This facility will be further expanded in keeping with the Master Plan. The strategic location of Hambantota provides great opportunities for expanding this facility.

Since the tank farm has not been operational for over two years, it is under refurbishment at present. Engineering surveys and risk analyses are being carried out to ensure the safe operation of the tank farm.

The tank farm is included within the CA.

HIP will complement the Port of Colombo, not compete. HIP will fully support the Government of Sri Lanka’s ambitious plan to transform the Colombo port into a regional logistics hub.

The artificial island will be used for port related activities, which have also been included in the Master Plan.

The artificial island is included within the terms of the CA.

Future plans are to develop the RO-RO, bunker, and break-bulk business, as well as the out-port services, and to develop the port related industries. We are working on a Master Plan incorporating all of these services. CMPort’s expertise, as well as worldwide port network portfolio will be of considerable advantage in developing the Hambantota International Port into a world-class facility.

There is a written down procedure for any member of the public to enter the port operating area. This procedure is in keeping with international port safety requirements and the ISPS Code requirements. As a globally recognized port operator, the safety of personnel is of paramount importance, especially since the port uses heavy machinery and equipment which could pose risks to personnel entering its premises.

The Port is governed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act and functions under guidelines established by the Government of Sri Lanka. No naval vessel can berth at the Hambantota port without the approval of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA)

The Daily FT newspaper reported on XXX, that: At a forum at the Oxford University on Monday, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe suggested that the site’s potential as a Chinese military installation was “imaginary”. As a measure of reassurance for interested nations, the Sri Lankan Navy’s Southern Command will be moved to the Port of Hambantota to provide port security. “The US Defence Department has been briefed on these developments,” Wickremesinghe said. “There are no foreign naval bases in Sri Lanka,” he added. “The Hambantota Port is a commercial joint venture between our ports authority and China Merchants - a company listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In answer to this, we quote a media report: The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that, “While rejecting claims that either Sri Lanka have sold the Hambantota Port to China Merchant Port or that China coming and taking the Hambantota Port to achieve their geo-political objectives, Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe said that it was not China who asked for the Hambantota Port but Sri Lanka who offered it”. “It was not China who asked for the Hambantota Port, but it was us”, the Minister said addressing the 69th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China held at the BMICH last Friday. The event was organized by the Sri Lanka-China Journalist Forum. Addressing the event further the Minister also said, “Our Prime Minister, who was in China, met the Chinese President and Prime Minister there and appealed from Chinese leadership to help us to make the debt obligation that had resulted in this huge amount of money that was lent to us by China to build the two phases of the Hambantota Port.” He also said that when the Sri Lankan Prime Minister suggested that the loan should be rescheduled or delayed because Sri Lanka were finding it difficult to pay back the loan, the China told Premier “If you do it for Sri Lanka you have to do it for other countries, therefore it is difficult us to consider this moment, but had said that they would find an investor”. “From that investment money, it can be used to repay the debt, that had accumulated and that we were finding difficult to pay back”, he said. Read more 

Wild elephants have been part of the Hambantota area since ancient times. The Wild Life Department is involved in formulating a sustainable solution to manage and protect these animals.

Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS) has the exclusive rights in developing, managing and operating the common user facilities such as port control, piloting, mooring, anchorage, towage, security and QHSE (Quality, Health, Safety and Environment). HIPG and HIPS work together to ensure the efficient and reliable movement of goods and passengers; integrating environmental, social and economic sustainability initiatives into all areas of port operations.

Navigation Services


The Hambantota International Port provides the ideal location for anchorage activities as it is a mere 10 nautical miles from the main east west trade route. The anchorage boasts good holding grounds with no obstructions. It is suitable for deep draft vessels and is an ideal anchorage location for long term layups. As it is in close proximity to the port, a gamut of services can be provided in an efficient manner via boats, provision supply, crew changes, fresh water and bunkering without calling inside the port. The Sri Lanka Navy ensures the safety and security at anchorage and therefore it is unparalleled.


Ships are secured to mooring in order to prevent free movement of the ship on the water. Hambantota International Port has a well-designed mooring facility, including jetties, piers, dolphins, which have been strategically installed in appropriate locations. This is based on geotechnical characteristics, meteorological characteristics, sea states and other environmental aspects to secure a safe and a smooth facility for all vessels. Our staff is well-trained and dedicated to handling of any kind of mooring lines ranging from steel, soft tail and others.


The pilots at HIP who bring the ships in and out of the port are direct employees of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. We are in a position to offer world-class pilotage services for all types and sizes of vessels sailing in and out of the Port. In collaboration with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, HIP ensures professional pilotage a 24x7x365 basis. Our fleet includes a modern pilot launch, which can achieve speed in excess of 15 knots.

Both HIPG and HIPS are joint-venture companies, with shares held by China Merchants Port Holdings Limited (CMPort) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), in a Public Private Partnership (PPP). CMPort is a major conglomerate based in Hong Kong with a global presence in port operations, maritime transportation and logistics services. Sri Lanka Ports Authority is a Statutory Authority established by an Act of Parliament with powers for management and administration of ports in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA)

Sri Lanka Ports Authority came into being on 1 August 1979, under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act, No. 51 of 1979 (subsequently amended by Act No. 7 of 1984 and Act No. 35 of 1984). It was, in effect, a merger of the Colombo Port Commission Department, The Port Cargo Corporation and the Port Tally and Protective Services Corporation. and the two existing statutory Corporation. The Ports Authority is self-sustaining and operates utilizing  on its own revenue and resources and does not receive financial allocations from the Government. Prior to the formation of SLPA, the Colombo Port Commission, established in 1918, carried out the supply and maintenance of cargo-handling equipment and other infrastructure, pilotage services, docking and administration of the Port of Colombo. The Port Cargo Corporation was set up in 1958 to handle Stevedoring and shore handling activities, while the Port Tally and Protective Services Corporation was formed in 1967 in order to perform on-board tallying and watchmen services on behalf of Agents.

The role of the SLPA :
  • As per the Concession Agreement, The Chairman of the SLPA is the Chairman of the Hambantota International Port Services Company (HIPS), which operates the port’s common user facilities, including but not limited to navigation, security and safety.
  • The Deputy Harbor Master under the purview of the Harbor Master, SLPA, performs navigation services at the Hambantota International Port.
  • The Deputy Harbor Master (DHM) and Pilots are employees of the SLPA and they perform duties as per the SLPA Act, Harbor Masters Ordinance, Pilots Ordinance, etc.
  • No commercial vessel can berth at the Hambantota port without the approval of the Harbor Master of SLPA and the Sri Lanka Navy.
  • No naval vessel can berth at the Hambantota port without the approval of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
  • As per the Concession Agreement, a security oversight committee shall be appointed comprising of the Director Security-SLPA, a member from the Ministry of Defense, Commander Southern Naval Area and the Police.
  • The Director Security of the SLPA heads this committee. They meet each month alternately in Colombo and Hambantota, and review overall security of the Port.

China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CMPort)

The history of China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CMPort), formerly China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI), dates back to 1872 when its parent company, China Merchants Group, was established in Hong Kong, focusing on core businesses of Transportation, Finance and Property. Listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1992 (00144), CMPort is the largest, globally competitive public port developer, investor and operator in China. The company’s investments cover Mainland China, Hong Kong and overseas, while its port network includes coastal hub ports in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shenzhen, Ningbo, Shanghai, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian, Zhangzhou, Zhanjiang and Shantou. It has a growing presence in South-Asia, Africa, Mediterranean and South America. CMPort’s current port network portfolio spans 50 ports in 26 countries and regions. CMPort has consistently strived and succeeded in its vision: To be a world-class comprehensive port service provider.

China Merchants Group (CMG) (Parent company to CMPort)

China Merchants Group (CMG is focused on three core industries: comprehensive transportation, featured finance, holistic development and operation of residential communities and industrial parks. CMG's economic indicators hit a record high in 2019: revenue of 717.7 billion yuan, total profit of 162.5 billion yuan and net profit of 126.2 billion yuan: a year-on-year increase of 10.4%, 12.0% and 18.0% respectively. Total assets reached 9.3 trillion yuan; an increase of 16.7%. CMG is among eight central SOEs awarded ‘Level-A’ performance evaluation by SASAC for 15 consecutive years, and ‘Excellent Performance Enterprise’ for five successive tenures. CMG and its subsidiary China Merchants Bank were both in the Fortune Global 500 list in 2019, making CMG an enterprise with two Fortune Global 500 companies.

The port is located 10 nautical miles from the busiest sea route, the east west trade route and is located on the traditional silk route.

Days From Hambantota International Port (At the speed of 16 knots)


The port's location at the southern extremity of Sri Lanka, overlooking South Asia's vital sea lanes, makes it an important commercial asset for the country.