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Major expansion of passenger boat services planned

Passenger boat in its’ inaugural journey after the Boat Transport Service was launched on Thursday (22 Aug) / facebook.com

The government is planning a massive expansion of passenger and cargo boat services that will link Colombo with the suburbs, Negombo as far as Hanwella.

Chairman of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation Development Corporation (SLLRDC), Roshan Gunawardena said that the corporation plans to expand the boat passenger services from Wellawatta to Battaramulla via Nawala within six months.

At a media briefing held at Colombo on Saturday, Gunawardena unveiled plans to deploy passenger boats along the Kelani River between Mattakkulliya and Hanwella. 

The project is a joint effort by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) deploy both passenger and cargo boats along existing waterways in the city and its environs.

As a pilot project, a passenger boat transport service was launched on the Beira Lake, between Union Place and Colombo Fort last week.

Gunawardena added that the boat service would be expanded to include the Hamilton Canal where passengers could use a boat service between Colombo and Negombo.

He also said that plans were afoot to use the canal for the transport of tourists as well as a means of cargo transport. He added the move would help in the economic growth of the country.

Further, he said that said tourist boats and boats transporting cargo would be charged a higher rate, and the profits would be utilised to subsidise passenger transport services.