The Port of Colombo holds a unique position in the world as a major strategic port on the eastern and western sea routes connecting the Indian Ocean. It currently has three main container terminals. The Port of Colombo has a long history of over 2000 years. The port was owned by the Portuguese around 1505. They have also been doing business through this port since 1517. The port was then taken over by the British in 1796 and by about 1815 they were also trading through the port. Most of what they have done is transport goods through this port. That is, tea, coconut, rubber, and spices were transported by the British.
They brought the goods from various parts of Sri Lanka to Colombo Fort by trains and transported them by cart from Colombo Fort to the Port of Colombo. After gaining independence in 1948, the port came under the complete control of the Sri Lankan rulers in 1954 and has been under the control of the Government of Sri Lanka ever since. This port is the main commercial port in Sri Lanka. It covers an area of 4.8 km2. It can accommodate up to 51 ships at a time and has 27 docking poles. The port handles 4.1 million tons of cargo annually. The port is also equipped with large cranes and a freight train. Another special feature of this port is that it is the highest earning annual port in Sri Lanka.
The port was repaired with a number of new sections and reopened on August 08, 2013, as the size of the port was a problem in the day to day activities of the port. Currently with a capacity of 7 million TEUs and a dredged depth of over 15m (49 ft), the Colombo Harbour is one of the busiest ports in the world and ranks among the top 25 ports. It is one of the largest artificial harbors in the world, handling most of the country’s foreign trade. This port is also the Naval Base of the Sri Lanka Navy under the Commander of the Western Navy.