The project will involve extending the railway, which is currently under construction between Matara and Beliatta, east via Hambantota and Kataragama to the airport which is on the south of the island state. The new line will be nearly 100km long.

The winner of the tender would be required to build the new line, installing signalling, and operate it using its own trains. The winner will be allowed to set fares and develop property along the line. If the new company wants to extend its passenger or freight services beyond Matara it will have to pay track access charges to Sri Lanka Railways.

The government estimates the cost of the project at around $US 800m.